I’m glad you asked because I’m here to tell you!
Enrolled Agents are America’s Tax Experts. I know, you thought that title was firmly in the grasp of CPA’s. However, while it is true that some CPA’s specialize in tax, not all of them are tax-focused. But EA’s are solely focused on tax law. We are immersed, steeped in the stuff – the gooey, hard-to-understand, exceptions-are-the-rule, ever-changing, 70,000 page tax code.
We’ve studied hard and passed a vigorous 3-part 12 hour test to earn our letters. We are held to the highest standards on a professional level, taking 72 hours of continuing education every 3 years (including ethics). Those of us who are members of NAEA are required even more CE – increasing our requirement to 90 hours.
While a CPA is limited to practicing in their state, we are licensed on a federal level to represent you before all offices of the IRS. That means if the IRS has come knocking (you know, those scary letters they like to send in the mail), then an EA is who you want to find to help you.
Think of CPA’s as the family doctor and EA’s as the specialists when it comes to tax.
I’m not knocking CPA’s – they are needed for audits, attestations, certified financial statements, and the like. But they aren’t necessarily your go-to tax guy.
Just wanted to clear the air. We EA’s gotta defend ourselves. Our two letters are just as cool as their three!
If you want to learn more about the Enrolled Agent credential, look no further than the organization I belong to – the National Association of Enrolled Agents.