As an Enrolled Agent you have opportunities to increase your salary by charging a fee for representation services, tax advice, or opinions on tax matters. EAs can work year-round, representing taxpayers in examinations, audits, installment agreements, collections and appeals.
Armed with the ability to provide additional services, the Enrolled Agent credential increases the value you bring to clients, but it also increases the revenue potential that current clients bring to a tax practice.
For these reasons, EAs are in high demand and often earn a higher salary than tax return preparers who are unable to offer these services. On average, EAs can earn more per year than tax preparers. Compare Enrolled Agent salary in your city with a salary search tool.Ready to become an enrolled agent? Let us help.
Finding work with tax preparation firms is one of the most common career paths for Enrolled Agents. While much work in tax is done from January through April 15th each year, enrolled agents have the distinction of working year round. As an EA, you may be tasked with preparing both individual and business tax returns. Most tax firms do not specialize in preparing just business returns, but having the knowledge needed to prepare business returns will be beneficial to you as you seek employment.
Your day to day work will most likely consist of conducting face-to-face or video conference interviews with clients in order to prepare complete and accurate tax returns. An EA will most likely need to communicate with both state and federal tax agencies to obtain the best possible outcome for clients. This means you will guide and help clients with any number of IRS actions that they face such as:
There is a myth that Enrolled agents are hiding behind a desk crunching numbers all day, this could not be further from the truth. As an EA your day can consist of relationship building to grow various areas of the business through direct selling, client follow up and client retention. Interpersonal skills are important and successful tax preparation companies often upsell additional products and services such as audit defense, offering peace of mind for your tax clients. As you learn and grow in your career, you may find yourself mentoring future junior level tax professionals as well.
A credentialed tax preparer with 2 or more years of tax experience can find job postings with salaries ranging from $45,000 to $80,000 a year. Career opportunities range from hourly to salary with both full-time and seasonal part-time work. Being bilingual is always a plus in the tax field!
Most companies (no matter how small) need someone to manage their financial books either part or full-time. With most small companies it is the founder or spouse of the founder that does some of this work. Over time successful business owners will realize they need help maintaining the books. While there is the misconception that most bookkeepers are CPAs, having that training while helpful is not required. Bookkeepers typically need a 2-year associate's degree to find employment but some businesses will hire applicants who've earned a high school diploma. An enrolled agent seeking employment as a bookkeeper will have a deeper understanding of tax law. While the EA credential cannot replace bookkeeping experience and education, it will absolutely aid in your ability to handle tax related issues. Having additional training and a respected credential can be the difference between getting hired or being passed over for a better candidate.
Working as a bookkeeper you would help manage finances and records of various business clients, process Federal and State notices, prepare tax returns, create financial reports as well as other common bookkeeping duties. Working in an accounting department you would regularly communicate with employees, vendors, and customers to ensure accuracy of financial transactions and records. Based on recent job openings, salary ranges in private practice between $35,000 - $100,000 a year.
Each year, thousands of nonresident aliens become gainfully employed in the United States. Thousands more own rental property or earn interest or dividends from U.S. investments. Working as an enrolled agent for an International Tax Advisor, you can prepare tax returns for Americans living overseas and help those that have foreign interest in entities outside the U.S. Serving an international client base, this type of career lends itself most often to a telecommuting career.
As an EA seeking employment in this area of work you will generally need (2) years of experience preparing individual federal and state returns. Working on a less traditional clientele means you will need to handle constant customer flow all year round. Since many foreign tax advisors only work with clients that live abroad, it will be good to have knowledge and experience with forms (1116, 2555, FBAR, 8938). You can learn a lot about these areas in tax by preparing for and getting your EA credential. Based on recent job openings, salaries for Foreign Tax Advisors range between $50,000 - $120,000 a year. Again being bilingual is a plus but is not always a requirement.
Working for a tax law firm as an Enrolled Agent, you will be pulling, processing, saving, and sharing IRS account transcripts. You will get to know your clients during a time when they really need help. This means you'll have day to day contact with clients, IRS ACS, IRS appeals officers, IRS revenue officers, IRS revenue agents. You will respond to and perform client audits where you will review tax returns and reconcile financials. This means you will be working to gather financial documents, work to process and save them for future review.
You will also fill out financial forms (assets and liabilities, income and expenses), and cross-reference this information with pertinent financial documents per IRS guidelines. Much of your work will require meticulous records keeping as you prepare and draft IRS correspondences.
Enrolled Agents working for a law firm may be asked to take the Tax Court exam in order to represent taxpayers before the court. This is possible without having to go through law school or sitting for the Bar. “A qualified individual who is not an attorney at law, may be admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court. See Internal Revenue Code sec. 7452. In addition to showing good moral and professional character, such an applicant must, as a condition of being admitted to practice, satisfy the Court by means of a written examination, that the applicant possesses the requisite qualifications to provide competent representation before the Court. Rule 200(a)(3), Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure. In 1995, the Court adopted procedures for the preparation and grading of the non-attorney examination.”
As an EA working in tax law, you will need to have tax accounting skills with proficiency in Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), tax compliance, corporate consolidated returns, and combined state tax returns. Candidates are typically required to have at least two years of progressive State and Local Tax compliance and or tax/consulting experience. Understanding of State and Local Taxes including knowledge in State Income/Franchise Tax, Credits and Incentives, Sales and Use Tax is necessary in most firms hiring for this position. In nearly all cases an enrolled agent will need experience in State And Local Tax Deduction, (SALT) issues. Law firms seeking EAs also list the following as requirements for employment in this type of career: Experience in preparation and review of state income and franchise tax returns - including corporate and pass-throughs. Experience with state tax planning, tax research, and tax analysis. Extensive technical skills, including ASC 740, nexus considerations, unitary filing, apportionment methodologies, tax base rules, tax research, compliance and consulting as it relates to multi-state jurisdictions. Ability to supervise staff and lead projects. Exceptional client service and communication skills with a demonstrated ability to develop and maintain outstanding client relationships. Excellent research and writing skills. Salaries can range between $60,000 to $120,000 a year.
Search the internet and it's not too difficult to find local or national accounting firms hiring for experienced tax return preparers and enrolled agents. To qualify for the majority of positions available, you will want at least two years of recent public accounting experience, working knowledge in finance, bookkeeping, or corporate tax experience. Of course there are exceptions with many companies willing to hire and train new talent in preparation for a busy tax season. Many new students will ask: “how do I get enrolled agent experience to qualify for some of the higher paying jobs?” One way to get experience as an EA is to work first as a tax preparer. Just because you have the enrolled agent credential, does not necessarily mean you are ready to work as one, especially if you have not prepared taxes before. It should also be noted that finding entry level positions as a tax preparer without experience is difficult during the off season but you might have a better chance if you already have your EA credential.
By preparing individual or business taxes you'll get real world experience helping tax clients with some of the more common problems they face. EAs are more than just expert tax preparers, you will manage client relationships, prepare and review corporate, individual, partnership, fiduciary and other tax returns. In addition to preparing and signing tax returns, you will represent tax clients before the IRS, assist in collections issues, set up installment agreements, prepare offers in compromise, sign closing agreements regarding a tax liability, and sign consents to extend the statutory period for assessment.
Starting salaries for tax preparers are as low as $25,000 and increase to as much as $86,000 based on experience. Those with the EA credential can see an increase of as much as 30% based on experience, knowledge and other factors. Tax preparers with 3-5 years experience and an EA credential can find job postings with salaries ranging from $50,000 to $125,000 annually.
If you would like to work for the IRS, you'll find job openings for those with all levels of experience. It should be noted that the IRS looks at education but will also take experience, licensure and credentials into account when evaluating new candidates. There are many career tracks to consider as you apply to work for the IRS but one of the best places to start is as an IRS Internal Revenue Agent. IRS Revenue agents are responsible for reviewing tax returns and conducting audits, as well as identifying and collecting overdue taxes. When the general public owes back taxes or has other tax problems, it is a Revenue Agent that will deal with these problems. On current job posts, the IRS states that many members of their leadership and executive teams began their career as an Internal Revenue Agent.
As an IRS Internal Revenue Agent you will be working with taxpayers, businesses, tax-exempt organizations and will be expected to understand changing tax laws and accounting practices, as well as various types of businesses and industries. Just like you would working in the private sector for tax clients, you'll be tasked to educate, assist and counsel but on behalf of the IRS. An individual with 5 years of relevant employment with the IRS may apply for enrollment to become an Enrolled Agent (EA) without taking the exam, however having some knowledge and the credential before you apply could set you apart from others seeking to get hired for the same position.
Internal Revenue Agent requirements include US citizenship, plus either a four-year degree or experience along with 30 semester hours of accounting coursework. Latest salary numbers for an IRS - Internal Revenue Agent range from $40,000 to $130,000 annually.
It goes without saying that you should always put a client's needs first, what better way to separate yourself from others than as a knowledgeable wealth and tax expert? Having the Enrolled Agent credential gives you the ability to more effectively speak about things important to your client.
Without the EA you may find yourself referring customers over to individuals that do not always have your clients in as high a regard as you might. The last thing you want is your clients getting contradictory or confusing information when dealing with more than one “expert” regarding matters of tax, finance, and investment. In most cases the confusion could be avoided if everyone was on the same page and had equal share of information.
It is for this reason many CFPs and advisors earn their EA credential. With the EA, an advisor can offer tax planning as part of their comprehensive suite of services by completing and filing the appropriate federal, state and city tax forms on the client's behalf. As a result, the CFP or advisor has a better understanding of their clients' needs, as well as solutions that ensure the financial well-being of their clients' portfolios and estates.
There are few better ways for a fiduciary or financial advisor to differentiate themselves than by including tax preparation and consulting as part of their overall fee.
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"Two immediate benefits of obtaining the EA designation: (1) my earnings were 32% higher during this past tax season, (2) more complex income tax returns were made available for me to complete. There is also the confidence factor, in knowing that I am a more capable tax professional."— RON
"Earning the EA Designation brought my credentials inline with my professionalism and experience. It is a great talking point with my clients and gave me the confidence to increase my fees."— SANDRA
"Earning my EA was the first step in growing my business. It proves that I am knowledgeable and that I am a true tax professional committed to serving the tax needs of my clients. The doors are wide open for me to focus on tax planning, tax controversy and tax resolution which will be the focus of my practice."— GUERGUENS
“I have a much greater knowledge base after taking the study courses and passing the exams. I work at a CPA firm, and my EA designation puts me on the POA's to help handle notices - plus the pay raise is a bonus!”— FAYE
“Earning my EA designation gave me more knowledge to serve my clients and also increased my per return pay.”— KEVIN
“I received a pay raise from my company, I'm able to serve clients with more complicated returns and help with IRS & State letters and notices more than just advising them as to what they can do to resolve the issues with whatever taxing authority they received the notice from.”— BONNIE
“Yes, earning the EA designation benefited me. My employer pays more in bonuses to EAs. Clientele ask about it and spread the word which increases business.”— JAYNE
“My pay is increased due to being an EA. New clients came to me after seeing that I was an EA on our website. I was even able to help some clients with a compliance audit.”— MARILYN
“YES, Earning the EA designation has increased pay at work. Having the ability to take POA for clients to resolve even most basic irs issues is a huge benefit.”— NANCY
“Yes. The EA credential allowed me to represent clients before the IRS just in time for the new changes in the 2848. As an unenrolled preparer my limitations were becoming more strict. My ability to serve clients in tax resolution has also increased tremendously and a whole new division in my firm has risen.”— DIONNE
“Yes, earning the EA made me "more attractive" to new clients. It also increased my earnings.”— JAIME
“Obtaining the EA designation increased my knowledge of taxes and my credibility with Financial Advisors that I help put financial plans together for.”— BRIAN
“It helped me to gain more complex clients and increased my earnings by $11 per return.”— ELI
“Earning the EA designation not only increased my compensation, ability to serve clients, it also help me to gain clients confidence in me.”— LEANN
“Definitely. It has given me the opportunity to take on more complex returns. My job is harder now, I rarely do a 1040ez, but it is more rewarding and fun. And it has definitely increased my earning capability.”— ELLEN
“Earning my EA was beneficial. Although it is not the highly desirable CPA designation, it still made me a respected member of the accounting community and improved my earning potential.”— RYAN
“It was a great benefit. First and foremost, EA allows me to practice anywhere, while my licenses to practice law are limited to each state where I have bar membership.”— KRISTINE
“Getting my EA designation enabled me to get a new job. Now I'm branching out and doing more year round tax work for clients.”— JODY
“I started my own tax practice, and I'm now earning a great living.”— HANNAH
“Great program has helped me gain extensive training in the tax arena. Which has helped me gain new clients.”— KEVIN
“Yes it did benefit me. I have been in accounting for 40 years and my main line has been business taxation for partnerships and s-corporations. I have been given a new opportunity to work more closely with personal returns and gaining this designation has helped in educating me and to give me credibility with new clients.”— VALERIE
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