Enrolled Agents are the only tax professionals that actually earn their licensing from the Internal Revenue Service. This means that in order to become an Enrolled Agent, an individual has to pass a background check, be current with their own tax filings and tax payments, and demonstrate competency in Individual Taxation, Business Taxation, and Representation – Practices and Procedures, by passing three separate exams. Former employees of the IRS, in some cases, may also qualify as an Enrolled Agent without the testing requirements. Because of the stringent application process, Enrolled Agents have been given unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS.
In addition to the strict application process, in order to maintain the EA status, the Internal Revenue Service requires Enrolled Agents to complete 72 hours of continuing education every three years, with a minimum of 16 hours earned per year with at least 2 in ethics. The IRS also has strict guidelines for operating as an Enrolled Agent, as outlined in Circular No. 230 – Regulations Governing Practice before the Internal Revenue Service. This circular outlines the rules and regulations that mus be followed, as well as disciplinary procedures for tax practitioners that violate them.
The National Association of Enrolled Agents is an advocacy organization that promotes effective tax administration and ethical standards of practice. Members of the NAEA are held to an even higher standard then required by the IRS. The NAEA has its own code of ethics and requires members to go above and beyond the IRS continuing education requirements; requiring a minimum of 30 hours per year, with at least 2 being in ethics.
Because of the federal recognition, Enrolled Agents are also known as America’s Tax Experts. Working with an EA allows you to be confident that your best interest is being looked after.
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