Information provided by the California Society of Enrolled Agents
California Society of Enrolled Agents 3200 Ramos Circle
Sacramento, CA 95827-2513
Enrolled Agents. Who they are and what they do?
Q: What are Enrolled Agents?
A: Enrolled Agents are individuals
licensed by the federal government to represent taxpayers before the Internal
Revenue Service. Enrollment dates back to 1884, when Congress acted to
regulate persons who represented citizens in their dealings with the Treasury
Department, after questionable claims had been presented for Civil War
Q: What exactly do Enrolled Agents do?
A: Unlike lawyers or CPAs,
Enrolled Agents specialize in taxation. Throughout the year they advise,
represent and prepare returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations,
estates, trusts and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. In California,
for example, the more than 4,000 members of the California Society of Enrolled
Agents prepare almost 2,000,000 tax returns each year. Enrolled Agents'
expertise in the constantly changing field of tax law enables them to be
effective representatives when taxpayers are audited by the IRS.
Q: How do Enrolled Agents differ from other tax experts?
A: Only Enrolled Agents are
required to demonstrate competence in matters of taxation before they may
represent a taxpayer. Also, they are the only representatives for taxpayers
who receive that right from the U. S. government. (CPAs and attorneys are
licensed by the states.) An individual may become an Enrolled Agent in
one of two ways: The primary way is to pass a difficult, two-day examination
given annually by the IRS. The test covers taxation of individuals, corporations,
partnerships, estates, trusts, procedures and ethics. The other way is
to have been an employee of the Internal Revenue Service for five years,
regularly applying and interpreting the provisions of the Internal Revenue
Code and regulations.
Q: Are there other requirements?
A: Over the years, an average
of one-third of individuals taking the examination have passed, allowing
them to apply for enrollment and subject themselves to a background investigation.
In addition to the stringent testing and application process, Enrolled
Agents are required to earn 72 hours of continuing professional education,
reported every three years, to maintain their status. Because of the difficulty
in becoming enrolled and maintaining that enrollment, there are fewer than
34,000 Enrolled Agents in the United States. In contrast, there are about
375,000 certified public accountants (CPAs) nationwide.
Q: Where can I find out more about Enrolled Agents?
A: Write or call the California
Society of Enrolled Agents, 3200 Ramos Circle, Sacramento, CA 95827-2513.
telephone: 1-916/366-6646 or 1-800/777-2732.