Enrolled Agents (EAs) are America’s Tax Experts®

The enrolled agent designation was created in 1884 by an Act of Congress to fight against fraudulent Civil War loss claims. When the first income tax law became effective in 1913, the enrolled agent’s role expanded to include claims for monetary relief for citizens whose taxes had become inequitable. As tax laws became more complex, enrolled agents were called upon to prepare tax forms and represent the client at audits. Written in 1941, the Treasury Department’s Circular 230 was the first publication to specify the rules and regulations that governed EA procedure, practice, and enrollment.

Enrolled Agents (EAs) are federally licensed tax practitioners who may represent taxpayers before the IRS when it comes to collections, audits and appeals. As authorized by the Department of Treasury’s Circular 230 regulations, EAs are granted unlimited practice rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS and are authorized to advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts, and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. Enrolled agents’ expertise in the continually changing field of taxation enables them to effectively represent taxpayers at all administrative levels within the IRS.

Ethical Standards

Enrolled agents are required to abide by the provisions of the Department of Treasury’s Circular 230, which provides the regulations governing the practice of enrolled agents before the IRS. NAEA members are also bound by a Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct of the Association.

The Differences Between Enrolled Agents and Other Tax Professionals

Only enrolled agents are required to demonstrate to the IRS their competence in all areas of taxation, representation and ethics before they are awarded unlimited representation rights to represent taxpayers before IRS. Unlike attorneys and CPAs, who are state-licensed and who may or may not choose to specialize in taxes, all enrolled agents specialize in taxation.

Choosing an NAEA Member EA

The principal concern of the National Association of Enrolled Agents and its members is honest, intelligent and ethical representation of the financial position of taxpayers before governmental agencies. NAEA members adhere to a stringent Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct of the Association, as well as the Treasury Department’s Circular 230 regulations. NAEA members also belong to a strong network of experienced, well-trained tax professionals who effectively represent their clients while striving to make the tax code fair and reasonably enforced for America’s taxpayers. You can easily locate an enrolled agent in your area by visiting the “Find a Tax Expert” website and searching by location or specialty.  

Privilege and the Enrolled Agent

The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 provides federally authorized practitioners (those bound by the Department of Treasury’s Circular 230 regulations) with a limited client privilege. This privilege allows confidentiality between the taxpayer and the enrolled agent under certain conditions. The privilege applies to situations in which the taxpayer is being represented in cases involving audits and collection matters. It is not applicable to the preparation and filing of a tax return. This privilege does not apply to state tax matters, although a number of states have an accountant-client privilege.  

Continuing Education

The IRS requires 72 hours of continuing education every three years in order to maintain an active license and practice rights. NAEA members are held to a higher standard than the IRS’ minimum 72 hour continuing education requirement. NAEA members must complete 30 hours of IRS-approved continuing education hours each year (which would lead to a total of 90 hours for each three-year EA enrollment cycle period).   

Become a Member

NAEA offers enrolled agents and tax professionals valuable information, educational resources, networking opportunities and more to support you throughout the professional arc of your career.