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Accounting Information > Income Taxes > Enrolled Agent

Enrolled Agent

             You may have heard the term enrolled agent or EA.  But what does it mean?  Who is an enrolled agent?  An enrolled agent is a qualified tax practitioner who has been authorized by the United States Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service.  The enrolled agent will represent the taxpayer at all levels of the IRS in regard to audits, collections, and appeals.

             This is an important certification because taxpayers can only be represented by enrolled agents, attorneys, or certified public accountants before the IRS.  There are two ways someone can become an enrolled agent.  They can take and pass an extensive exam, called the Special Enrollment Exam, covering all areas of the tax code.  If someone has worked for the Internal Revenue Service for five years, in a job that required interpretation and application of the tax code and regulations as a major part of the job, they can become an enrolled agent without taking the exam.  Whichever way someone becomes an enrolled agent, a background check must also be completed by the IRS.  For either case, the applicant would need to complete Form 23, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service.  A fee of $125 must be enclosed with the application, Form 23.


             An enrolled agent can work with any taxpayer, including individuals, corporations, partnerships, estates, and trusts.  Basically, any entity that is required to report taxes could use the services of an enrolled agent.  The services provided by an enrolled agent range from tax return preparation to advising and representing taxpayers before the IRS.

             Because of the confidential nature of information that would be exchanged between the enrolled agent and the taxpayer, the relationship is inured with a limited client privilege.  This is in regard to circumstances in which the enrolled agent is representing the taxpayer in collection matters or an audit.

             As with most professional certifications, enrolled agents are required to complete continuing professional education requirements.  They must complete and report seventy-two hours of continuing professional education every three years.  If the CPE is not kept up-to-date, the enrolled agent will not maintain their status and certification.

             Enrolled agents must follow the provisions of Circular 230, by the Department of the Treasury.  Circular 230 details the regulations in regard to how enrolled agents and other professionals practice before the Internal Revenue Service.  An organization called the National Association of Enrolled Agents, or NAEA, has been formed to represent enrolled agents.  The association’s website is, and is very helpful if you would like more information on enrolled agents.  The website has a feature you can use to find an enrolled agent in your area, if needed.  

             If you need help with figuring out your income taxes, including which schedules you might need to file and which expenses are allowed as deductions, or if you are looking for a CPA to represent you before the IRS, you are in the right place.  Try out the CPA search feature on this website to find a qualified professional to assist you with all your tax and accounting needs.

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