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Enrolled Agent (EA)

Enrolled Agents are to taxes what attorneys are to law. EAs are licensed to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the IRS for audits, collections and appeals.

EAs are the only tax practitioners required by federal law to maintain their expertise through professional education each year to maintain membership in NAEA

The Enrolled Agent (EA) designation originated in 1884 to regulate agents who represented U.S. citizens with claims for Civil War losses. Today, EAs represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service and state tax agencies and help prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, and trusts. EAs are also experts in tax planning, and can help you ensure that you don't pay too much or risk a tax audit. If you pay taxes, you need to talk to an Enrolled Agent!

Enrolled agent status is the highest credential IRS awards. Individuals go obtain this elite status must pass a three-part exam. Enrolled agents, like attorneys and certified public accountants, have unlimited practice rights and may stand in the place of of any taxpayer negotiating a collection issue or responding to a tax return audit.

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 are the differences between Enrolled Agents and other tax professionals?

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 (CPAs and attorneys are licensed by the states).

What does the term “Enrolled Agent” mean?

“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 may represent taxpayers before the IRS.

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.

Are Enrolled Agents required to take continuing professional education?

In addition to the stringent testing and application process, the IRS requires Enrolled Agents to complete 72 hours of continuing professional education, reported every three years, to maintain their Enrolled Agent status. San Fernando Valley Chapter members are obligated to complete 90 hours per three year reporting period. Because of the knowledge necessary to become an Enrolled Agent and the requirements to maintain the license, there are only about 46,000 practicing Enrolled Agents nationally.

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 Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct of the Association.

How do I know if my tax preparer is an Enrolled Agent?

Look for the "We SpEAk tax" designation, and insist that your tax preparer be a Member of the California Society of Enrolled Agents (CSEA). Members of the SDEA are required to fulfill 25% more professional education every year than any other Enrolled Agents. CSEA Members not only speak tax - they speak it fluently!

* Phillip B Chute is an Enrolled Agent, tested, licensed, and appointed by the IRS directly. He has prepared or supervised over 25,000 tax returns over 30 years.

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