What is an Enrolled Agent?

An Enrolled Agent (“EA”) is a person who is authorized to represent taxpayers before any office of the Internal Revenue Service.

Why Become an Enrolled Agent?

The EA designation is the highest credential issued by the IRS (technically, the United States Department of the Treasury issues the enrollment card). Enrolled Agents, along with Attorneys and CPAs, are the only tax professionals with unlimited representation rights, meaning they can represent any client on any matter before the IRS. This is true even if the EA did not preparer the tax return involved.

WHat does an Enrolled Agent do?

Simply put, an enrolled agent can perform all of the same functions as a CPA or Attorney before any office of the IRS. The role of an enrolled agent extends beyond simply preparing tax returns. Enrolled agents can help taxpayers navigate audits, request payment agreements with the IRS, settle tax debts and various collection issues, and handle taxpayer appeals.

An EA does not handle criminal matters or represent clients in tax court unless the EA also happens to be an attorney.

IRS Division What can an EA do?

Examinations – When the IRS is investigating the facts and trying to determine if a taxpayer owes money. This is called an “audit.”

Represent the taxpayer before the IRS

Corresponding and communicating with the IRS

Representing a taxpayer at conferences, hearings, or meetings with the IRS

Collections – When the IRS is attempting to collect a tax debt that is enforceable.

Offer in compromise – Offer to pay less.

Executing installment agreements (payment plan) on behalf of client

Extending the collection period

Abatements, releasing liens, preventing a levy (seizure of property).

Office of Appeals – Appealing an IRS enforcement decision.

Collection Due Process (CDP)

Collection Appeals Program (CAP).

Success Story

"Becoming an EA has opened up so many doors in our offices. The EA status has saved our client thousands of dollars."

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5 More Reasons you should consider becoming an Enrolled Agent

  1. Increase credibility and earn the respect of your peers
  2. Enrolled Agents are tax experts that have been around since 1884 (longer than CPAs)
  3. Client communications are confidential if relating to non criminal tax matters or proceedings.
  4. Enrolled Agents are exempt from many of the state fees, registration and testing requirements imposed on Tax Return Preparers.
  5. Ability to help referred clients with their IRS issues.

How to become an Enrolled Agent

You need to pass 3 separate IRS exams in order to “demonstrate a special competence in tax matters.” The exam is formally called the IRS Special Enrollment Examination, or SEE, but most people refer to it as the enrolled agent exam. The exam isn’t easy, but we help thousands of students just like you pass the exams every year.

Ready to become an enrolled agent? We can help.

How long does it take to become an enrolled agent?

Generally, it takes about a month to prepare for each part of the enrolled agent exam (between 3-4 months total). Of course, the length of your journey to become an enrolled agent depends on your prior tax experience. We have seen students with a lot of experience and some inexperienced students who applied themselves complete the process much faster.

The IRS allows 2 years from the completion of your first exam to pass all three. Once you pass all of the exams, you need to complete an online application to apply for enrollment to practice before the IRS. Just type “form 23” in the search box on pay.gov to find it. You should receive your enrollment card in about 60 days from the date of your application.

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.

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.

Thank You!

"I used FFA for the EA exam after becoming frustrated with GLEIM and fell in love with your adaptive software. I passed all parts of the EA and all aspects of my job are now better. Your software and overall system is a large part of the reason I am an EA today. Thank you!"

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