An enrolled agent is a person who has earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before any office of the Internal Revenue Service. An enrolled agent can negotiate with the IRS during examinations and appeals, and act in place of a taxpayer signing consents and executing agreements on their behalf. An enrolled agent is the only professional granted a right to practice directly from the U.S. government. Attorneys and Certified Public Accountants (CPA) have state licenses, which limits their practice only to the states where they are licensed. Unlike a CPA or attorney, an enrolled agent holds a federal license and has the right to represent any taxpayer in any state regarding federal tax matters. An enrolled agent is considered a tax specialist, which sets them apart from attorneys or CPAs who do not always specialize in taxes. The practice of enrolled agents before the IRS is not limited and they may represent taxpayers before the IRS, performing the same tasks as an attorney or CPA. The capabilities of an enrolled agent extend beyond just preparing returns to areas such as representing clients in cases involving audits, collections, and appeals.
Enrolled Agents are required to take 72 hours of continuing education during the 3-year enrollment cycle, and at least 16 hours for each respective year to maintain their EA license. These 16 hours must include at least 2 hours of enrolled agent ethics or professional conduct education.