EA’s: The Taxpayers’
Q: What does the term Enrolled Agent mean?
A: “Enrolled” simply 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 Enrolled Agents, attorneys and CPAs may
do so. Enrollment dates back to 1884, when Congress acted to regulate
persons who represented citizens in their dealings with the Treasury
Department, after questionable claims had been presented for Civil War
Q: What exactly do Enrolled Agents do?
A: Unlike attorney or CPAs, Enrolled Agents specialize
in taxation. Throughout the year, they advise, represent and prepare
tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts
and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. In California, for
example, the more than 3,000 Members of the California Society of Enrolled
Agents prepare about 1.5 million tax returns each year. Enrolled Agents’
expertise in the constantly changing field of tax law enables them to
be effective representatives when taxpayers are audited by the IRS.
Q: How do Enrolled Agents differ from other tax experts?
A: EAs are the only practitioners who have demonstrated
in matters of taxation. Also, they are the only representatives for
receive that right from the U.S. government. (CPAs and attorneys are
licensed by the states in which they practice.)
An individual may become an Enrolled Agent in one of two ways: The primary
way is to pass a difficult, two-day examination given annually by the
IRS. The test covers taxation of individuals, corporations, partnerships,
estates and trusts as well as procedure and ethics. Less than one-third
of individuals taking the examination have passed, allowing them to
apply for enrollment and subject themselves to a background Investigation.
The other way is to have been an employee of the Internal Revenue Service
for five years, regularly applying and interpreting the provisions of
the Internal Revenue Code and regulations.
Q: Are there other requirements?
A: In addition to the stringent testing and application
process, Enrolled Agents are required to earn 72 hours of continuing
professional education, reported every three years, to maintain their
status. Because of the difficulty in becoming enrolled and maintaining
that enrollment, there are fewer than 35,000 Enrolled Agents in the