What is an Enrolled Agent and Do You Need One?

by John Cooney on Aug 7, 2018

Taxes, Enrolled Agent

What is an Enrolled Agent?

                An Enrolled Agent is an individual who is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a person who can legally represent taxpayers in front of the IRS.  If a taxpayer has been audited, in the collections process, or appealing an IRS ruling they can choose to hire a professional to present their case before the IRS.  These professionals must be either a Certified Public Accountant, a lawyer, or an Enrolled Agent.  Of the three, enrolled agents are the only ones required to prove to the IRS their competency in taxation and representation of taxpayers.  This is done through completing three separate Special Enrollment Exams.  These exams focus on the taxation of individuals and businesses, as well as rules and ethical guidelines around representation and business practices and procedures.  Once an individual has passed the three exams, they can apply to the IRS for acceptance as an Enrolled Agent.  To ensure taxpayers are well represented, the IRS mandates that once accepted as an Enrolled Agent, an EA must complete a total of 72 hours of continuing education every three years to keep their EA enrollment active.

Why Did I Become an Enrolled Agent? 

                My decision to become an Enrolled Agent was a pretty simple one.  As a Comprehensive Financial Planner working with clients on all aspects of their financial lives, it became apparent very quickly that nearly every financial decision we make has an impact on the amount of taxes we are going to pay.  To best serve my clients it was imperative that I needed to understand how our tax code works and what planning we can do to minimize the impact taxes will have on reaching our financial goals.  It was not an easy journey, the United States Tax Code is long and can be very complicated, but what kept me moving forward was knowing that I could have confidence in the advice I was giving my clients and helping them live the financial lives they were seeking.

How Can an Enrolled Agent Assist You?

                As much as we may want to, you cannot avoid paying taxes.  While some people are comfortable doing this on your own, others like the idea of working with a professional, one who has proven his competence to the IRS, to ensure they are not paying too much or too little to the IRS.  An Enrolled Agent can help you complete the required forms and make sure you understand what payments or refunds are required or owed to you by the IRS.  Enrolled Agents can go beyond tax preparation though, and can help you with tax planning.  Instead of being surprised every April, working with an Enrolled Agent, especially one who is also a financial planner, you can make decisions and choices throughout the year to put more money towards the financial goals you have.  Finally, if you find yourself being questioned or audited by the IRS, or maybe you disagree with a decision the IRS has made, an Enrolled Agent can represent you before the IRS, to ensure you get a fair and honest hearing.


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