What is an Enrolled Agent?

Enrolled Agents (EA's) have a vast knowledge of anything pertaining to income tax, inheritance tax, gift tax, estate, payroll, retirement, and non-profit taxation.

In order to become an enrolled agent, a candidate must first take the EA exam or have at least 5 years of IRS work. The EA exam, also known as the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE) is a 3 part exam. Each sections tests the individual's knowledge on all tax-related matters.

Once one has passed the EA exam, they are federally recognized as being a tax specialist. This fact in particular, is one of the greatest differences between an enrolled agent vs a CPA.

From the IRS website:

An enrolled agent is a person who has earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service by either passing a three-part comprehensive IRS test covering individual and business tax returns, or through experience as a former IRS employee. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards. Individuals who obtain this elite status must adhere to ethical standards and complete 72 hours of continuing education courses every three years.

Enrolled agents, like attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs), have unlimited practice rights. This means they are unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can represent clients before.

Learn more about enrolled agents in Treasury Department Circular 230

What is a CPA?

CPA’s are well versed in all things accounting, which include auditing, taxes, business law, finance and more.

CPA's complete education requirements that vary depending on the state in which they plan to practice. After the prerequisite education requirements have been met, candidates can sit for the CPA exam. The CPA exam is a standardized test that consists of 4 different sections; Auditing and Attestation, Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Regulation.

CPA’s are licensed on a state level and can only practice in the state that they earn their designation. This is one of the biggest differences between CPA’s and enrolled agents, who are licensed on a federal level.

It should be noted that our firm is comprised of one enrolled agent and no certified public accountants.