When Might You Need An EA?
October 5, 2018
EA stands for ‘Enrolled Agent’ and this is the highest credential that the IRS award to tax Professionals; it’s recognized in all 50 U.S. states. Attorneys and CPA’s or ‘Certified Public Accountants’ are licensed on a state by state basis, and they are also empowered by the Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS.
Why were EA’s created?
Back in the time of the American Civil War, the position of an enrolled agent was first created as a reactionary response to fraudulent war loss claims, and its roots go back as far as 1884. When the war was over, many people faced trouble when trying to settle claims with the government over property that had been confiscated from them for use in the war effort. This resulted in Congress giving enrolled agent the power of advocacy to help prepare claims against the government.
Are all paid tax return professionals equal?
No, most certainly not! For more detailed information about the different types of tax practitioners and their required qualifications, you can check out the IRS website, where the levels of testing, continuing educational requirements and other criteria are listed for your information.
But one call to a professional tax agency specialising in tax prep and planning, will help you to decipher who is best suited to help you based upon your needs.
Why would you choose an EA over any other tax professional?
Enrolled agents can often save you time and effort when it comes to preparing your taxes and the tasks associated with it, and they are equipped to advise, represent and prepare tax returns for all sorts of groups, such as individuals, partnerships, corporations, trusts and any other entities with tax reporting requirements.
They are required by law to continue their education to ensure that they have the most up to date knowledge available to them, to be able to effectively and accurately represent the tax payer, whoever that may be. Their continued knowledge makes them ideal for representing clients who have been subject to an audit by the IRS, and their educational requirements must exceed the minimum sought by the IRS.
Here are 2 benefits to taxpayers that only EA’s can offer:
An emphasis on ethics – the primary focus of an EA is to be honest, display intelligence and have outstanding ethical principles when it comes to representing tax payers before the IRS. All registered EA’s must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct of the Association, as well as the Treasury Departments Circular 230 regulations.
Proof of expertise – Before being given the right to represent taxpayers before the IRS, EA’s must demonstrate their capabilities in every area of taxation, representation and ethics. While attorneys and CPA’s are licensed by the state and can opt not to specialise in taxes, enrolled agents are experts in taxation and make it their specialist subject.
Some companies offering professional tax services will have an EA on their team, simply call them and make some enquiries about which tax professional would be best suited to your needs.