What is an Enrolled Agent?
Tax professionals come in three basic types:
1) Enrolled Agents
3) Tax attorneys
The National Association of Enrolled Agents defines an enrolled agent as “a federally authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U. S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service for audits, collections, and appeals.” This makes the Enrolled Agent the only tax professional who gets a license from the federal government.
To qualify to be an Enrolled Agent, a person must pass a thorough examination covering all aspects of the tax code or have worked for the IRS in a position that regularly interpreted and applied the tax code and how it is applied. In other words, an Enrolled Agent understands the tax code and how it is applied.
The Enrolled Agent exam covers nothing but taxes. It includes individual taxes, sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts, gift taxes, and IRS Practice and Procedure.
Why the term enrolled agent? The agent part is because in representing a taxpayer, the enrolled agent acts as the taxpayer’s agent, that is, “standing in the taxpayer’s shoes”, much as an attorney would. The enrolled part is because the practitioner is “enrolled”, or registered, with the Internal Revenue Service.
Certified Public Accountants are accountants who have received a license from the state that allows them to perform audits of financial statements of governmental entities, non-profit organizations, and business enterprises, in effect certifying that the financial documents of these entities are accurate. Most states require a CPA to have a college degree with certain amounts of credit hours in accounting and business. The CPA exam is in four parts which are: Auditing and Attesting, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Regulation (a portion of which include taxation), and Business Environment and Concepts. Some CPAs choose to specialize in taxation.
I’m all for having an attorney if you need one. Attorneys, at least in most cases, will have a college degree and have attended law school, passed the Bar Exam, and received a license to practice law from their state (or states.) Attorneys should be familiar with and understand the law, rules of evidence, and courtroom procedure. If you are being charged with a criminal matter, tax fraud, tax evasion, or want to argue a technical issue of tax law in court, then an attorney would be for you. In most cases, when it comes to dealing with the IRS, whether it be filing back taxes, going through a tax audit, making arrangements to pay back taxes, submitting an offer in compromise, requesting penalty abatement, etc., what you have is a tax problem, not a legal problem. If I were working on a case, and discovered that a legal problem did exist, I would refer the client to a competent tax attorney.
All tax professionals must obtain a certain amount of Continuing Education to maintain their license. The amount of this required education will vary from state to state for CPAs and attorneys, and can cover a variety of topics. Enrolled Agents are required by the IRS to take 72 hours of Continuing Education every three years, the subject matter of which must be taxation.
Carl Wiens, Enrolled Agent
Licensed to Represent Taxpayers Before the IRS
In all 50 states
doing business as
TOTAL TAX SERVICE
Toll Free 888-493-8818
4221 N. MacArthur Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK. 73122
Member: National Association of Enrolled Agents and
National Association of Tax Professionals
This Web Page Created with PageBreeze Free HTML Editor