What does an enrolled agent do?
An enrolled agent (EA) is a tax practitioner that is federally authorized to provide representation to taxpayers. They handle a variety of issues including collections, audits, and appeals. They provide advice and help individuals, groups, corporations, trusts, estates, and any other entities prepare tax returns. They are able to assist with all types of tax returns and tax related issues. Enrolled agents are experts in the ever-changing field of tax law and they act as advocates for tax payers and often negotiate with the IRS.
What kind of training does an enrolled agent need?
There are no specific educational requirements to become an enrolled agent, but candidates must have an extensive knowledge of tax code and IRS policies. Many aspiring enrolled agents have a bachelor degree in tax law, accounting, or other related field. Many enrolled agents begin their careers in entry-level positions with the IRS and advanced to enrolled agent positions after gaining the necessary skills and experience. The federal government requires passing a comprehensive examination or having 5 years work experience with the IRS to become a licensed enrolled agent. All prospective enrolled agents must also pass a thorough background check. Many enrolled agents join professional organizations such as Nationals Association of Tax Professionals (NATP) or the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA). Enrolled agents must complete continuing education to renew their enrollments. The typically requirement is 72 credit hours for a 3 year cycle, with at least 16 credit hours per year.
What are the prospects for a career as an enrolled agent?
Employment of enrolled agents is expected to grow as fast as average for all professions, increasing 13% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and expansion of the IRS will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be good with strong competition. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace enrolled agents that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do enrolled agents make?
As of February 2010, the average annual salary for enrolled agents is $48,000; average annual enrolled agent salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as an enrolled agent is a great choice for people with a strong interest in the Internal Revenue Service and providing representation to a variety of taxpayers. Enrolled agents must have a solid understanding of the concepts, rules, and regulations related to taxes and the IRS. Detail orientation, critical thinking, patience, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Enrolled agents must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to interact with a variety of people. They must be able to make effective decisions under stress and pressure.