What the heck is an Enrolled Agent?!?
An enrolled agent (EA) is a person who has earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards. One must pass a three-part comprehensive IRS exam covering individual, business tax returns, and taxpayer representation to reach this designation.
Enrolled agents are the only federally-licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxation and have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS. Enrolled agents’ expertise in the continually changing field of taxation enables them to effectively represent taxpayers at all administrative levels within the IRS. Individuals who obtain this elite status must adhere to ethical standards and complete 72 hours of continuing education courses every three years. You can be assured that an EA is well versed in federal taxation matters.
The enrolled agent status was conceived due to fraudulent war loss claims subsequent to the American Civil War (Enabling Act of 1884, or the “Horse Act of 1884”). At that time, many citizens faced difficulties in settling their claims with the government for property commandeered for use in the war effort. Congress thus granted enrolled agents with the means with which to prepare claims against the government. The designation and its role remained largely unchanged until 1913.
When the Revenue Act of 1913 was passed the reach of the enrolled agent was expanded to include claims for financial reprieve for those people whose taxes had become a financial burden. The scope and reach of enrolled agents continues to grow as the Tax Act steadily becomes more and more multifaceted and audits become more prevalent.