An Enrolled Agent (or EA) is a tax professional recognized by the United States federal government to represent taxpayers in dealings with the Internal Revenue Service. The profession has been regulated by Congress since 1884.
To become an enrolled agent an applicant must pass the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE) or present evidence of qualifying experience as an Internal Revenue Service employee. A background check, including a review of the applicant’s tax compliance, is conducted.
The right to practice before the Internal Revenue Service is regulated by Federal statue and persons authorized to practice are known as “Federally Authorized Tax Practitioners,” or FATP’s. The FATP status is granted to Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents, Enrolled Actuaries, and to persons in a few other categories (Circular 230 a/k/a Treasury Reg. 10.3).
Enrolled Agents, like other FATP’s, are subject to a set of procedures and regulations described in Treasury Circular No. 230, Regulations Governing the Practice of Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents, Enrolled Actuaries, and Appraisers before the Internal Revenue Service (3) (or Circular 230). FATP’s are allowed to represent taxpayers in all proceedings before the Internal Revenue Service including audits and appeals.
Enrolled Agent status does not automatically allow the enrollee to practice before the United States Tax Court. That practice is limited to members of the Bar of the Court. The Internal Revenue Code states that no qualified person shall be denied admission to practice before the Tax Court because of his failure to be a member of profession or calling. “(4) Bar membership for non-attorneys requires that applicant pass a Tax Court examination: attorneys are admitted without having to take the examination. Practice before the United States district courts, bankruptcy courts, courts of appeal, and Supreme Court of the United States is limited to attorneys.
Enrolled agents (EAs) are a diverse group of independent, federally authorized tax practitioners who have demonstrated a high level of technical competence in tax and are licensed to practice by the United States government. The only federally-authorized tax practitioners with unlimited rights of representation before the IRS, EAs advise and represent taxpayers who are being examined by IRS, are unable to pay taxes or are trying to avoid or recover penalties. EAs also prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts and any other entities with tax-reporting requirements. Unlike tax attorneys and CPAs, who may or may not choose to specialize in taxation, all EAs specialize in taxation and are required by the federal government to maintain their professional skills with continuing professional education. Enrolled agents are “America’s Tax Experts!”