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What is an Enrolled Agent?

An Enrolled Agent (EA) is an authorized tax practitioner by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). An Enrolled Agent has specialized expertise in taxation and is authorized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service for collections, audits, and appeals.

How are Enrolled Agents different from other tax professionals?

Only Enrolled Agents are required to validate to the IRS their competency in matters of taxation before they may represent a taxpayer before the IRS. Unlike attorneys and CPAs, who may or may not choose to specialize in taxes, all Enrolled Agents practice in taxation. Enrolled Agents are the only taxpayer representatives who obtain their privilege to practice from the U.S. government (CPAs and attorneys are licensed by their own respective states).

What does the term "Enrolled Agent" mean?

"Enrolled" means to be licensed to practice by the federal government, and "Agent" means commissioned to appear on behalf of the taxpayer in front of the IRS. The Enrolled Agent profession dates back to 1884 when, after questionable claims had been presented for Civil War losses, Congress acted to control persons who represented citizens in their dealings with the U.S. Treasury Department by administering the license of Enrolled Agent.

How does someone become an Enrolled Agent?

The Enrolled Agent license is earned in one of two ways,

  1. By passing an extensive examination which covers all parts of the tax code
  2. By working at the IRS for five years in a position that regularly interprets and applies the tax code and its regulations.

All candidates are subjected to a stringent and scrupulous background check administered by the IRS.

How can an Enrolled Agent help me?

An Enrolled Agent advises, represents, and prepares tax returns for individuals, corporations, partnerships, trusts, estates, and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. An Enrolled Agents' expertise in the continually changing field of taxation enables them to adequately and effectively represent taxpayers audited by the IRS.

All information on Enrolled Agents is courtesy of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA).