What is and Enrolled Agent?
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 examinations (audits), appeals, and collections.
The right to practice before the Internal Revenue Service is regulated by Federal statute and governed under US Treasury Circular 230. Persons authorized to practice are known as "Federally Authorized Tax Practitioners," (FATP). The FATP status is granted to attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents, Enrolled Actuaries.
Enrolled Agents advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts, and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. Enrolled Agents’ expertise in the continually changing field of taxation enables them to effectively represent taxpayers subject to scrutiny by the IRS and state taxing authorities.
Unlike CPA's and attorneys who receive their designations from individual state authorities and have a range of different focuses, enrolled agents focus solely on matters of taxation and receive their professional designation directly from the US Treasury Department.
The privilege of confidentiality exists between a taxpayer and an enrolled agent when the taxpayer is being represented in cases involving audits, collection and appeals matters with the taxing authorities. This privilege is not however applicable to the preparation and filing of tax returns. Only the defending of taxpayers.
Enrolled agents that are members of the National Association of Enrolled Agents are not only bound by US Treasury Circular 230 regulations but also by a rigorous code of ethics and rules of professional conduct.
More about the Enrolled Agent designation can be found here:
www.NAEA.org – National Association of Enrolled Agents
www.CoSEA.org – Colorado Society of Enrolled Agents