An Enrolled Agent (EA) is 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.
What does the term “Enrolled Agent” mean?
“Enrolled” means to be licensed to practice by the federal government, and “Agent” means authorized to appear in the place of the taxpayer at the IRS. Only Enrolled Agents, attorneys, and CPAs may represent taxpayers before the IRS.
History of Enrolled Agents
EA is the professional designation for an Enrolled Agent. After the Civil War, many citizens had problems settling claims with the government for horses and other property confiscated for use in the war effort. After many petitions and much pleading, Congress in 1884 endowed Enrolled Agents with the power of advocacy to prepare claims against the government and to seek equitable justice for the citizenry. For many years, the purpose of the Enrolled Agent was to act in this capacity.
In 1913, when the income tax was passed, the job of the Enrolled Agent was expanded to include claims for monetary relief for citizens whose taxes had become inequitable. As the income tax, estate, gift and other sources of tax collections became more complex, the role of the Enrolled Agent increased to include the preparation of the many tax forms that were required. Additionally, as audits became more prevalent, their role evolved into taxpayer advocacy, negotiating with the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of their clients.