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An Enrolled Agent (or EA) is a tax professional recognized by the United States federal government to represent taxpayers in dealings with the Internal Revenue Service. The profession has been regulated by Congress since 1884.[1]

To become an enrolled agent an applicant must pass the Special Enrollment Examination or present evidence of qualifying experience as an Internal Revenue Service employee. A background check, including a review of the applicant’s tax compliance, is conducted.

The right to practice before the Internal Revenue Service is regulated by Federal statute[1], and persons authorized to practice are known as "Federally Authorized Tax Practitioners,"[2] or "FATPs". The FATP status is granted to attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents, Enrolled Actuaries, and to persons in a few other categories {Circular 230 a/k/a Treasury Reg 10.3}.

Enrolled Agents, like other FATPs, are subject to a set of procedures and regulations described in Treasury Department Circular No. 230, Regulations Governing the Practice of Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents, Enrolled Actuaries, and Appraisers before the Internal Revenue Service[3] (or Circular 230). FATPs are allowed to represent taxpayers in all proceedings before the Internal Revenue Service including audits and appeals.

Enrolled Agent status does not automatically allow the enrollee to practice before the United States Tax Court. That practice is limited to members of the Bar of the Court. The Internal Revenue Code states that "[n]o qualified person shall be denied admission to practice before the Tax Court because of his failure to be a member of any profession or calling."[4] Bar membership for non-attorneys requires that the applicant pass a Tax Court examination; attorneys are admitted without having to take the examination. Practice before the United States district courts, bankruptcy courts, courts of appeal, and Supreme Court of the United States is limited to attorneys.

The position of Enrolled Agent was created as a reaction to fraudulent war loss claims in the wake of the American Civil War. The first "EAs" were appointed with little or no qualifications other than a minimal background in bookkeeping.

Enrolled Agents are now tested and subjected to thorough background checks, including an examination of the applicants own tax compliance history. In addition the IRS requires applicants to complete 72 hours of continuing professional education every three years.

According to the National Association of Enrolled Agents there are currently about 46,000 practicing EAs in the United States.


  1. ^ 31 U.S.C. § 330 and 5 U.S.C. § 500.
  2. ^ See also 26 U.S.C. § 7525(a)(3)(A), relating to confidentiality of communications.
  3. ^ Codified in regulations at 31 C.F.R. subtitle A, part 10.
  4. ^ 26 U.S.C. § 7452.

See also


  • National Association of Enrolled Agents NAEA


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