What is an Enrolled Agent?

what is an enrolled agent

EAs are required to show they are competent in tax laws before they can represent a tax payer before the IRS. EAs receive their license from the federal government while Certified Public Accountants and attorneys are usually licensed by the state in which they reside. NAEA members are held to a higher standard than the IRS’ minimum 72 hour continuing education requirement. NAEA members must complete 30 hours of IRS-approved continuing education hours each year (which would lead to a total of 90 hours for each three-year EA enrollment cycle period).

  • EAs are not required to have a college degree or pass a comprehensive exam.
  • However, no matter who you hire, there are certain things to keep in mind.
  • An enrolled agent is a tax professional who is given permission to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service.
  • NAEA raises the bar even further—its members are required to complete at least 90 hours in a three-year period.
  • “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.
  • Arise knights and be recognized with the highest credentials of tax preparation.

With the introduction of income tax, EA’s responsibilities extended to include tax preparation and addressing taxpayer problems with the IRS. When providing advice to clients, EAs must practice integrity and take appropriate measures to comply with all legal obligations. They must maintain the confidentiality of their client’s information and avoid potential conflicts of interest. Enrolled agent status is the highest accreditation that can be granted by the IRS and allows special authority over any kind of tax preparation.

Why Get an Enrolled Agent License?

Enrolled agents are given the authority to prepare tax returns, advise and represent individuals, estates, corporations, partnerships and trusts. EAs are experts who keep up with the ever changing area of taxation. EAs are therefore effectively able to represent persons who are audited by the IRS.

What is EA enrollment cycle?

What is the “initial enrollment cycle”? Your enrollment date is based on the last digit of your social security number. When you first become an enrolled agent, the period up until your first re-enrollment date is considered your “initial enrollment cycle,” and it is normally less than 3 years or 36 months.

Enrolled agents must renew their certification with the IRS every three years. Each EA’s renewal year is determined by the last digit of their Social Security number. Test-takers who A Guide to Nonprofit Accounting for Non-Accountants fail the exam must pay the same fee to retake the test. To maximize the value of their investment, candidates should wait to register until they are fully prepared to take the exam.

Fact Checked

Over the years, we’ve watched many of our members achieve the EA designation. Members have stated that earning the designation is a great way to earn more respect from the IRS and showcase their dedication to the tax industry. Candidates https://adprun.net/what-to-expect-from-accounting-or-bookkeeping/ do not have to take all parts of the test on the same day or on consecutive days. They also do not have to complete the parts in any particular order. Prometric only offers the exam at its testing sites and not through off-site proctors.

Julia Kagan is a financial/consumer journalist and former senior editor, personal finance, of Investopedia. Our writing and editorial staff are a team of experts holding advanced financial designations and have written for most major financial media publications. Our work has been directly cited by organizations including Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Investopedia, Forbes, CNBC, and many others.


Whether or not the IRS has begun collection proceedings, don’t delay in getting the proper representation. First and foremost, interests and penalties continue to accrue while you wait. Second, there are programs and laws that can work to help resolve your problem, provided you start working with your Enrolled Agent to get started as soon as possible. If your preparer asks you for one, that’s one of the surest signs that you might be dealing with a tax prep scam.

  • You can figure out whether someone is a certified enrolled agent, or find enrolled agents in your zip code, using this handy IRS directory of certified tax return preparers.
  • Enrolled agents are the only tax professionals who do not require a state license.
  • Get unlimited advice, an expert final review and your maximum refund, guaranteed with Live Assisted Basic.
  • So if you have a company that you normally work with, you should be able to find an enrolled agent there as well.
  • Aspiring enrolled agents can discover the latest news affecting their profession and stay up to date with certification requirements.

As Enrolled Agents, we are licensed to work in any state and at the federal level. Plus, our experience with business accounting and tax preparation allows us to analyze and present all aspects of your financial situation. If you’re looking for representation outside of the traditional tax filing season, or you need representation before the IRS for an audit, appeals or collections matter, then an enrolled agent could be a big help to you. However, your tax return may be fairly straightforward and you might just want some reassurance that you’re calculating everything correctly. In that case, you may be better off looking into an online filing service instead.

Content Why Get an Enrolled Agent License? Fact Checked TURBOTAX ONLINE GUARANTEES Is an EA accountant higher than a CPA? Why should I choose an enrolled agent who is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA)? EAs are required to show they are competent in tax laws before they can represent a…