Have you ever noticed that some tax preparers have the designation EA next to their title? EA stands for Enrolled Agent, the highest designation a tax professional can have. EAs go through rigorous coursework and testing in order to obtain and retain their status. A status that makes them elite in the world of tax preparation and very valuable to their clients.
What it takes to become an EA
In order for Enrolled Agents to gain their status in the eyes of the IRS, they must take a three part exam called the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE exam). This three part exam covers all aspects of federal taxation: Individual Taxes, Business Taxes, and Representation, Practices and Procedures. Each part of the exam has 100 questions and the time limit for each part is 3.5 hours. This exam is a big one and requires that tax preparers truly know the tax law. Many tax preparers go through rigorous coursework and training in tax preparation and tax law before they even consider taking this exam.
What it takes to remain an EA
Just because you’ve passed your exam does not mean you can retain your status year after year. Enrolled Agents are required by the IRS to obtain 72 hours of continuing education every three years. A minimum of 16 hours must be earned per year, two of which must be on ethics.
Advantages of hiring an EA
Becoming an EA is not an easy task. It’s a huge accomplishment for tax pros, and something that taxpayers should take note of. Here are some advantages to hiring an EA.
- EAs are more qualified to prepare complicated tax returns because they have deep and proven tax law knowledge.
- EAs are the only tax professionals that have unlimited representation rights, meaning they can represent their clients before the IRS on any matters including audits, payment/collection issues, and appeals.
- You can rest assured that an EA is qualified and competent to prepare your tax return because they have gone through training and testing and are required to go through continuing education.
When it comes to filing your taxes, make sure you choose someone who truly knows the tax law and can prepare your return accurately. At Peoples Tax, we have several EAs that would love to be your trusted tax advisor! Our staff also consists of CPAs and tax preparers who teach taxes and write tax preparation curriculum in the off season for our sister company, The Income Tax School.