What is an Enrolled Agent?
An Enrolled Agent (EA) is a federally-authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service for audits, collections, and appeals.
What does the term “Enrolled Agent” mean?
“Enrolled” means to be licensed to practice by the federal government.
“Agent” means authorized to appear in the place of the taxpayer at the IRS.
The Enrolled Agent profession dates back to 1884. After the Civil War ended in 1865, many citizens had problems settling claims with the government for horses and other property confiscated for use in the war effort. After many petitions and much pleading, Congress in 1884 acted to empower and to regulate persons who represented citizens in their dealings with the US Treasury Department. Congress created the role of the Enrolled Agent, with the power of advocacy to prepare claims against the government and to seek equitable justice for the citizenry. For many years, the purpose of the Enrolled Agent was to act in this capacity.
In 1913, when the income tax was passed, the job of the Enrolled Agent was expanded to include claims for monetary relief for citizens whose taxes had become inequitable. As the income tax, estate, gift and other sources of tax collections became more complex, the role of the Enrolled Agent increased to include the preparation of the many tax forms that were required. Additionally, as audits became more prevalent, their role evolved into taxpayer advocacy, negotiating with the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of their clients.
In 1972, EAs united to form a national association to represent the needs and interests of EAs and the rights of taxpayers. That association is today called the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA). Through their national association and state affiliates, Enrolled Agents have successfully defended their rights to practice and furthered the passage of legislation and administrative rules that benefit both tax practitioners and ordinary citizens.
How can Enrolled Agent help me?
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 audited by the IRS.
What are the differences between Enrolled Agents and other tax professionals?
Enrolled Agents, attorneys, and CPAs may represent taxpayers before the IRS. Only Enrolled Agents are required to demonstrate to the IRS their competence 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 specialize in taxation. Enrolled Agents are the only taxpayer representatives who receive their right to practice from the U.S. government. Attorneys and CPAs are licensed by the states.