History of the Enrolled Agent

Congress enacts a "temporary" income tax with the passage of the Revenue Act of 1862 in order to fund the Civil War.

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Ten years later, this war-time tax was repealed.
1872
Ten years later, this war-time tax was repealed.
1884
The Treasury Department is having a difficult time with claims arising from property confiscated for use in the war effort. Congress gave the Secretary of the Treasury the authority to regulate the attorneys and agents representing taxpayers in these claims with the passage of the Enabling Act of 1884, also known as the “Horse Act” because the property in question was usually a horse. The intent of Congress at that time was not regulating “tax return preparers” as the modern-day income tax regime did not exist. Rather, this law was created to regulate representatives who were helping people prepare cases and file claims with the Treasury Department for losses resulting from the Civil War. Many of these claims were fraudulent, and regulation was deemed necessary to protect the public interest.
The income tax reappeared in 1913 with the ratification of the 16th amendment to the United States Constitution when it became apparent that another major war was upon us—WW1. The first Form 1040 was introduced at this time with a top tax rate of 6%. The form was far less complex than its modern-day equivalent with no additional schedules and one page of instructions. The role of the Enrolled Agent evolved with the needs of citizens as many sought monetary relief from income tax, and audits became more prevalent. Enrolled agents began to assist taxpayers with the preparation of the multitude of tax forms that would arise in the years to follow.
1913
The income tax reappeared in 1913 with the ratification of the 16th amendment to the United States Constitution when it became apparent that another major war was upon us—WW1. The first Form 1040 at this time with a top tax rate of 6%. The form was far less complex than its modern-day equivalent with no additional schedules and one page of instructions. The role of the Enrolled Agent evolved with the needs of citizens as many sought monetary relief from income tax, and audits became more prevalent. Enrolled agents began to assist taxpayers with the preparation of the multitude of tax forms that would arise in the years to follow.
1918
The Revenue Act of 1918 imposed a progressive income-tax rate structure of up to 77 percent.
In 1921, the Treasury Department released Circular 230 to address "the laws and regulations governing the recognition of agents, attorneys, and other persons representing claimants before the Treasury Department."
1921
In 1921, the Treasury Department released Circular 230 to address "the laws and regulations governing the recognition of agents, attorneys, and other persons representing claimants before the Treasury Department."
1959
In 1959, the Treasury Department implemented the first “Special Enrollment Examination.”
In 1966, “Enrolled Agent” became the official name for representatives able to demonstrate special skills and expertise in tax matters by passing the Special Enrollment Examination.
1966
In 1966, “Enrolled Agent” became the official name for representatives able to demonstrate special skills and expertise in tax matters by passing the Special Enrollment Examination.

The Benefits of Being an Enrolled Agent

  • What Can Enrolled Agents Do?
  • Why Become an Enrolled Agent?

What Can Enrolled Agents Do?

Enrolled Agents, along with Attorneys and CPAs, are the only tax professionals with unlimited representation rights, meaning they can represent clients on any matters before the IRS.

Some of these areas include:

Audits

Audits

Collection

Collection Issues

Appeals

Appeals

Payments

Payment Agreements

Why Become an Enrolled Agent?

  • Increase credibility by becoming an Enrolled Agent
  • Enrolled Agents are tax experts that have been around since 1884, longer than CPAs
  • EAs have the same practice rights before the IRS as CPAs and attorneys.
  • Increase your salary by charging a fee for representation services, tax advice, or opinions on tax matters.
  • On average, EAs can earn more per year than tax preparers. Compare Enrolled Agent salary in your city with a salary search tool.
  • EAs can represent any taxpayer before any office of the IRS, even if they did not prepare the original tax return.
  • EAs can work year-round, representing taxpayers in examinations, audits, installment agreements, collections and appeals.
  • Client communications are confidential if relating to non criminal tax matters or proceedings.
  • Enrolled Agents can receive the new IRS AFSP record of completion without taking the Annual Federal Tax Refresher Course.
  • The IRS will include Enrolled Agents in their Public Directory of Tax Preparer Qualifications on the IRS website.
  • Enrolled Agents are exempt from many of the state fees, registration and testing requirements imposed on Tax Return Preparers.

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