Enrolled Agent Designation (EA)

Definition:
Enrolled Agents are the only tax professionals licensed and regulated by the federal government. EA designees have demonstrated superior knowledge and technical competence in all areas of the tax code and tax form preparation. The EA designation permits holders to prepare all federal tax forms on behalf of individual and business taxpayers. Just like CPAs and tax attorneys, EAs are permitted to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the IRS. Unlike tax attorneys and CPAs, who may or may not specialize in tax matters, EAs focus solely on tax preparation and are able to handle taxpayers' most complex returns.

Enrolled Agents are licensed by the IRS and specifically trained in Federal tax planning, preparation and representation. EAs hold the most expansive license the IRS grants and must pass a suitability check, as well as a three-part Special Enrollment Examination, a comprehensive exam that covers individual tax, business tax and representation issues. They also complete 72 hours of continuing professional education every 3 years.

Granting body:

Internal Revenue Service

Office of Professional Responsibility

SE:OPR, Room 7238/IR

1111 Constitution Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20224


I achieved enrolled agent status by studying and passing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) intensive Special Enrolled Examination, which covers all aspects of federal taxation. The award of the Enrolled Agent (EA) designation is recognition of expertise, and assures the practitioner’s clients that the agent has kept up-to-date on the latest tax law changes, and can represent clients before the examination division of the IRS. The right to represent taxpayers before the IRS is awarded only to selected groups of individuals, including attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled actuaries, and enrolled agents. 

In order to be eligible to become an enrolled agent, an applicant must:  

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Be 18 years of age or older.

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Demonstrate competence in tax matters.

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Possess a current preparer tax identification number (PTIN).

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Has not engaged in any conduct justifying suspension or disbarment.

In order to become an enrolled agent, the applicant must:  

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Submit an application to the IRS.

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Pay a non-refundable registration fee.

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Pass an examination.

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Pass certain suitability checks.

Suitability checks include verification on filing personal and/or business tax returns, payment of any tax liabilities, and inquiry regarding any conduct which would justify suspension or disbarment from practice. Upon completion and approval of the application, the IRS will issue an enrollment registration card or certificate. This will include a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) which must be included next to his or her signature on all returns the agent prepares. It is a IRS issued license to prepare taxes.

Term and Renewal:

All enrolled agents must have a valid preparer tax identification number (PTIN) before preparing returns. PTINs must be renewed by December 31st each year. In addition, EAs must renew their credentials with the IRS between November 1 and January 31 of every subsequent third year. Upon renewal and payment of a renewal fee, a new card or certificate will be issued.

During a three year enrollment cycle, EAs must complete 72 hours of continuing professional education, including 6 hours of ethics or professional conduct. At a minimum, 16 hours, including two hours of ethics or professional conduct, must be completed in any one year of the three year enrollment cycle.

If you need assistance with any tax matter, you should seek the help of a tax professional. As an Enrolled Agent and member of the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), I can assist you with a review of your tax history and answer questions concerning how taxation issues may impact your future. Please contact me for assistance with all your tax related needs. 

The National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), founded in 1979, is a nonprofit professional association dedicated to excellence in taxation. NATP was formed to serve professionals who work in all areas of tax practice, and has more than 16,000 members nationwide. Members include individual practitioners, enrolled agents, certified public accountants, accountants, attorneys, and financial planners. Learn more at www.natptax.com

 

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