What is an EA?

An EA is an individual who has demonstrated technical competence in the field of taxation and can represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state tax agencies.

What does the term “Enrolled Agent” mean?

“Enrolled” means EAs are licensed by the federal government. “Agent” means EAs are authorized to appear in place of the taxpayer at the Internal Revenue Service. Only EAs, attorneys and CPAs may represent taxpayers before the IRS. Click here for a bit of history about how Enrolled Agents came to be.

How can an EA help me?

EAs offer a wide range of assistance, including tax planning advice, representation and preparation of tax returns. Enrolled Agents offer services to individuals, LLCs, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. EAs can prepare payroll and sales tax returns. If IRS or a state tax agency is asking questions or sending bills, the expertise of Enrolled Agents in the continually changing field of tax law enables them to effectively represent taxpayers.

What are the differences between EAs and other tax professionals?

Only EAs are required to demonstrate to the Internal Revenue Service their competence in matters of taxation before they may  earn their title and represent a taxpayer before the IRS. Unlike  attorneys and CPAs, who may or may not choose to specialize in taxes,   all EAs specialize in matters of taxation. EAs are also the only taxpayer representatives who receive their right to practice from the United States government. Thus Enrolled Agents are the only practitioners who are licensed to practice in all fifty states.

How does someone become an EA?

The EA designation is earned in one of two ways:

  1. An individual must pass an examination administered by the IRS which covers taxation of individuals and organizations, as well as ethics and IRS procedures. Next, each successful candidate  is subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the Internal Revenue Service; or
  2. An individual may become an EA based on employment at the Internal Revenue Service for a minimum of  five years in a job where he/she regularly applied and interpreted  the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and regulations.

Are EAs required to take continuing professional education (CPE)?

In addition to the stringent testing and application process, EAs are required to complete 72 hours of CPE, reported every three years,  to maintain their status.

Are EAs bound by ethical standards?

EAs are required to abide by the Standards of Ethical Conduct as published in U.S. Treasury Department Circular 230. EAs found to be in violation of the provisions contained in Circular 230 may be suspended or disbarred.