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What is an Enrolled Agent?
Enrolled Agents (E.A.’s) are America’s Tax Experts. E.A.’s are the ONLY Federally Licensed Tax Practitioners and the ONLY tax professionals who are defined in the U.S. Tax Code, who have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS. Enrolled Agents were the first professionals authorized to represent taxpayers before the U.S. Treasury Department, now the Internal Revenue Service! No other “Tax Professionals“, including CPA’s, can state the same! Enrolled agents were first recognized on July 7, 1884, by an Act of Congress signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur, which came about due to fraudulent war loss claims following the Civil War. The “Enabling Act” or “Horse Act of 1884,” which stipulated that enrollment was governed by a committee on enrollment and disbarment, was meant to ensure that enrolled “agents, attorneys, or other persons representing claimants” could help settle claims associated with property the government had seized for use in the Civil War.
Since that time, Enrolled Agents have been granted the authority to represent ALL taxpayers at every Administrative Level with the IRS and once again are the ONLY tax professionals listed in the U.S. Tax Code. No other licensed professional may state that fact!
What does the term “Enrolled Agent (E.A.)” mean?
“Enrolled” means to be licensed to practice by the federal government, and “Agent” means authorized to appear in the place of the taxpayer before the IRS. Only Enrolled Agents, Attorneys, and CPA’s have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS.
How does one become an Enrolled Agent?
The license is earned in one of two ways, by passing a comprehensive examination which covers all aspects of the tax code or having worked at the IRS for five years in a position which regularly interpreted and applied the tax code and its regulations. All candidates are subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the IRS.
How can an 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 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.
Are Enrolled Agents required to take continuing education?
YES!!! In addition to the stringent testing and application process, the IRS requires Enrolled Agents to complete a minimum of 72 hours of continuing education, reported every three years, to maintain their enrolled agent status. NAEA members are held to a higher standard, they are obligated to complete a minimum of 30 hours per year (for a minimum total of 90 hours per a three-year period). We at Capitol Tax and Professional Services, LLC typically exceed this requirement by taking at minimum of 40 hours per year (120 hours per a three-year period), however often much more than this. In contrast, CPA’s are only required to take 54 hours every 3 years (18 per year) generally audit and accounting procedures with NO requirement for Tax Updates. This is what makes Enrolled Agents unique, as all but 2 hours every year is tax related. Because of the expertise necessary to become an Enrolled Agent and the requirements to maintain our license, there are only about 60,000 practicing Enrolled Agents worldwide.
What are the differences between Enrolled Agents and other tax professionals?
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. Unlike attorneys and CPA’s, who are state licensed and who may or may not choose to specialize in taxes, 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. NAEA members are also bound by a Stringent Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct of the Association.
Why should I choose an Enrolled Agent who is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA)?
The principal concern of the National Association of Enrolled Agents and its members is honest, intelligent and ethical representation of the financial position of taxpayers before all governmental agencies. Members of NAEA must fulfill continuing professional education requirements that exceed the IRS’ required minimum. In addition, NAEA members adhere to a stringent Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct of the Association, as well as the Treasury Department’s Circular 230 regulations. NAEA members belong to a strong network of experienced, well-trained tax professionals who effectively represent their clients and work to make the tax code fair and reasonably enforced.