What is an EA?

EA is the professional designation for an Enrolled Agent.  After the Civil War, 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 endowed Enrolled Agents 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.  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.

What is an Enrolled Agent?
An Enrolled Agent (EA) is an individual who had demonstrated technical competence in the field of taxation.  Enrolled Agents, or EAs can represent taxpayer before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service.

What does the term “Enrolled Agent” mean?

“Enrolled” 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 EAs, attorneys and CPAs may 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 Treasury Department.

How can an Enrolled Agent help me?

EAs advise, represent and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts and any entities with tax reporting requirements.  EAs prepare millions of tax returns each year.  Enrolled Agents expertise in the continually changing field of tax law enables them to effectively represent taxpayers audited by the IRS.

How does one become an Enrolled Agent?
The EA designation is earned in one of two ways: (1) an individual must pass a difficult two-day examination administered by the IRS which covers taxation of individuals, corporations, partnerships, estates and trusts, procedures and ethics.  Next, successful candidates are subjected to rigorous background check conducted by the Internal Revenue Service: or (2) an individual may become an EA based on employment at the Internal Revenue Service for a minimum of five years in a job where he/she regularly applied and interpreted the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and regulations.

Are Enrolled Agents bound by any ethical standards?
EAs are required to abide by the provisions of U. S. Treasury Department Circular230.  EAs found to be in violation of the provisions contained in Circular 230 may be suspended or disbarred.

Why should I choose an EA who is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA)?

NAEA is the professional society of Enrolled Agents.  The principal concern of the association and its members is honest, intelligent, and ethical representation of the financial position of taxpayers before governmental agencies.  Members of NAEA must fulfill continuing professional education requirements that exceed the IRSs required minimum.  Continuing professional education must be reported every 3 years and NAEA members must complete a minimum 90 hours of education in  the interpretation, application and administration of federal and state laws in order to maintain membership in the organization.