An enrolled agent is a federally-authorized tax practitioner who completed the steps required to represent taxpayers before the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Like attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS. Therefore, enrolled agents are not restricted in terms of the taxpayers they can represent, the IRS office(s) before which they can represent clients or the types of tax matters they can manage. The enrolled agent status is the highest credential awarded by the IRS; individuals who earn it must follow strict ethical standards and complete a minimum of 72 continuing education hours, reported every three years, to maintain the enrolled agent status.
The enrolled agent profession began in 1884 when Congress took measures to regulate the individuals who represented citizens before the U.S. Treasury Department. Today, people earn the enrolled agent license by passing an examination covering individual and business returns, or by working at the IRS for five or more years in a position that required the repeated interpretation and application of the tax code and its regulations.
Becoming An Enrolled Agent
There are no educational or experience prerequisites to becoming an enrolled agent. Passing the examination provides evidence of your advanced knowledge of the U.S. tax code. This guide is intended to help you prepare to sit for the enrolled agent comprehensive examination – the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE) - and has been updated for exams effective May, 2013.