Enrolled Agents are America’s Tax Experts!
An IRS enrolled agent (EA) is a person who has earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service by either passing a three-part comprehensive IRS test covering individual and business tax returns, or through experience as a former IRS employee. All candidates are subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the IRS.
Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards. Individuals who obtain this elite status must adhere to ethical standards and complete 72 hours of continuing education courses every three years. Because of the expertise necessary to become an enrolled agent and the requirements to maintain the license, there are less than 50,000 practicing enrolled agents worldwide.
Enrolled agents, like attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs), are unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can represent clients before. Learn more about enrolled agents in Treasury Department Circular 230.
The big advantage that you get by using an EA to do your tax return is that the same team that handles the preparation of the return can represent you if you are audited. This can be a big advantage if your return is at all complicated.
What is an enrolled agent with the IRS?
“Enrolled” means to be licensed to practice by the federal government, and “Agent” means authorized to appear in the place of the taxpayer at the IRS. Only enrolled agents, attorneys, and CPAs have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS. The enrolled agent profession dates back to 1884 when, after questionable claims had been presented for Civil War losses, Congress acted to regulate persons who represented citizens in their dealings with the U.S. Treasury Department.
How can an enrolled agent help me?
IRS enrolled agents advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts, and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. Enrolled agents’ expertise in the continually changing field of taxation enables them to effectively represent taxpayers at all administrative levels within the IRS.
Privilege and the enrolled agent
The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 allow federally authorized practitioners (those bound by the Department of Treasury’s Circular 230 regulations) a limited client privilege. This privilege allows confidentiality between the taxpayer and the enrolled agent under certain conditions. The privilege applies to situations in which the taxpayer is being represented in cases involving audits and collection matters. It is not applicable to the preparation and filing of a tax return. This privilege does not apply to state tax matters, although a number of states have an accountant-client privilege.
Enrolled agent vs CPA – what are the differences?
Only enrolled agents are required to demonstrate to the IRS their competence in all areas of taxation, representation and ethics before they are given unlimited representation rights before IRS.
Certified Public Accountants’ (CPA), who are state licensed, specialize in accounting and may or may not choose to specialize in taxes. Unlike attorneys and CPAs, all enrolled agents specialize in taxation.
Are enrolled agents bound by any ethical standards?
Enrolled agents are required to abide by the provisions of the Department of Treasury’s Circular 230, which provides the regulations governing the practice of enrolled agents before the IRS.
Our goal at Tax Samaritan is to provide the best counsel, advocacy and personal service for our clients. We are not only tax preparation and representation experts, but strive to become valued business partners. Tax Samaritan is committed to understanding our client’s unique needs; every tax situation is different and requires a personal approach in providing realistic and effective solutions.
Click the button below to request a Tax Preparation Quote today to get started with the preparation of your US tax return with a Tax Samaritan enrolled agent.
Tax Samaritan is a team of Enrolled Agents with over 25 years of experience focusing on US tax preparation and representation. We maintain this tax blog where all articles are written by Enrolled Agents. Our main objective is to educate US taxpayers on their tax responsibilities and the selection of a tax professional. Our articles are also designed to help taxpayers looking to self prepare, providing specific tips and pitfalls to avoid.
When looking for a tax professional, choose carefully. We recommend that you hire a credentialed tax professional such as Tax Samaritan that is an Enrolled Agent (America’s Tax Experts). If you are a US taxpayer overseas, we further recommend that you seek a professional who is experienced in expat tax preparation, like Tax Samaritan (most tax professionals have limited to no experience with the unique tax issues of expat taxpayers).
Randall Brody is an enrolled agent, licensed by the US Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS for audits, collections and appeals. To attain the enrolled agent designation, candidates must demonstrate expertise in taxation, fulfill continuing education credits and adhere to a stringent code of ethics.
Every effort has been taken to provide the most accurate and honest analysis of the tax information provided in this blog. Please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information provided. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional tax advice based on your individual needs.