Enrolled Agents: The Tax Experts

An Enrolled Agent may practice before the Internal Revenue Service. Practice before the Internal Revenue Service comprehends all matters connected with a presentation to the Internal Revenue Service or any of its officers or employees relating to a taxpayer's rights, privileges, or liabilities under laws or regulations administered by the Internal Revenue Service.

Such presentations include, but are not limited to, preparing and filing documents, corresponding and communicating with the Internal Revenue Service, and representing a client at conferences, hearings and meetings. Presentations are most often made on behalf of taxpayers who cannot pay their tax liabilities in full on the date due, taxpayers who are confronted with questions concerning the accuracy of their tax returns, and taxpayers who want to avoid or recover penalties.

-- American Academy of Tax Practice

Patricia Yeckel of Canyon Tax & Bookkeeping has been an Enrolled Agent since 2002. Her practice serves clients in Rancho Santa Margarita and surrounding communities such as Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Coto De Caza, Ladera Ranch, Dana Point, Irvine, Foothill Ranch, Trabuco Canyon, as well as other Orange County, CA areas. Patricia Yeckel currently serves as President of the Orange County chapter of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA).

Q&A re Enrolled Agents: The Taxpayers' Tax Experts

If you pay taxes, you should know about ENROLLED AGENTS!

Q. What does the term Enrolled Agent (EA) mean?

A. "Enrolled" simply means EA's are licensed by the federal government. "Agent" means EA's are authorized to appear in place of the taxpayer at the Internal Revenue Service. Only Enrolled Agents, attorneys, and CPA's may do so.

Enrollment dates back to 1884, when Congress acted to regulate persons who represented citizens in their dealings with the Treasury Department, after questionable claims had been presented for Civil War losses.

Q. What exactly do Enrolled Agents do?

A. Unlike attorneys or CPA's, Enrolled Agents specialize in taxation. Throughout the year, EA's advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts and any entities with tax reporting requirements.

Q. How do Enrolled Agents differ from other tax experts?

A. EA's are the only practitioners who have demonstrated technical competence to the IRS specifically in matters of taxation. Also, they are the only representatives for taxpayers who receive that credential directly from the U.S. government. (CPA's and attorneys are licensed by the states.)

An individual may become an Enrolled Agent in one of two ways: The primary way is to pass a difficult, two-day examination given once annually by the IRS. The test covers taxation of individuals, corporations, partnerships, estates and trusts, as well as procedure and ethics.

Less then one-third of individuals taking the examination have passed, allowing them to apply for enrollment and subject themselves to a background investigation by the FBI.

The other way is to have been an employee of the Internal Revenue Service for five years, regularly applying and interpreting the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and regulations.

Q. Are there any other requirements?

A. In addition to the stringent testing and application process, Enrolled Agents are required to earn 72 hours of continuing professional education, reported every three years, to maintain their status.

Because of the difficulty in becoming enrolled and maintaining that enrollment, there are fewer than 50,000 Enrolled Agents in the United States.

Enrolled Agents are the only professional tax practitioners who specialize in tax.