An Enrolled Agent (EA) is a licensed tax professional who represents taxpayers that face asset forfeiture, are undergoing audits, or who want to file appeals for various decisions of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Specifically, those with this certification, similar to a certified public accountant (CPA), can represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service.
EAs has become a bona fide career with the benefits of technical experience, federal oversight of the practice, governmental oversight, and even their own publications. In fact, EA certification is the highest credential the IRS offers.Though not quite at the level of a CPA or a lawyer, EAs are able to offer a broad scope of services to their clients.
Also, unlike a certified public accountant, these agents do not need approval from a state board and they do not need state licenses; their professional certification is accepted throughout the nation. Outside of standard tax prep, you and your client will also enjoy client-EA confidentiality. Thus, when you are representing a taxpayer in a matter involving an audit or Internal Revenue Service collections, you can discuss the content of those filings with protected confidence and security.
These days, the profession is still available to nearly anyone. No special education is required. However, all licensed EAs must pass a special enrollment examination (SEE) and tend to do better with previous employment and work experience in the field. The IRS oversees the EA exam through Prometric that likely offers a testing center near you. In 1994, the initials E.A. were officially recognized by the Treasury Department.
A licensed enrolled agent (EA) has many duties and responsibilities, both to their clients and to the Internal Revenue Service. Failure to comply with rules can result in suspension, disbarment, or other penalties. Conceivably, criminal charges could be filed in extreme circumstances. However, you will enjoy a long and fruitful career and nearly unlimited earning potential in the private sector if you maintain an honorable practice.
When becoming an enrolled agent you will have several obligations and one of the first obligations is to the IRS. If the agency requests documentation from you, you must comply with the request or order for documents. When you receive such a request, you should scrutinize it and determine that it follows tax law and that the requested documents do not violate your client-EA confidentiality.
After all, while it is important to be in compliance with the IRS, it’s also important to fulfill on any contractual agreements you have with your client. Not only are you required to submit any lawfully requested documentation, but you must also be available to testify before the IRS.
As you work with a client, it is your duty to inform them of various statutes and rules. For instance, if you see that they may be omitting certain information from their paperwork when you file it, you must let them know that their action will carry consequences. Failure to properly inform your client may result in negative consequences for both you and your client. These types of due diligence are required throughout your practice.
The Benefits of Becoming an Enrolled Agent
1. Unlimited Representation before the IRS
The U.S. CPA license is one of the most respected accounting certifications. But when it comes to representation before the IRS, the EA is right there with the CPA. Therefore, if certain obstacles prevent you from earning the CPA, but you plan to specialize in tax, you can get the EA license and be just as capable. The IRS grants both CPAs and EAs the ability to represent a taxpayer without any limitations.
As an EA, you will always be in the IRS National Database so long as you maintain the continuing education (CE) and Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) requirements. As a result, you can handle any type of tax matter (even audits, collections, and appeals), represent clients before any IRS office, and represent any taxpayer in any state. You don’t ever have to turn away clients because of situations outside your professional clearance level.
2. Verified Tax Expertise
The IRS doesn’t award unlimited representation to just anyone. No, everyone knows that with the IRS’s stamp of approval, enrolled agents are the real tax experts. That’s because, in the process of earning the EA designation, you will increase your tax knowledge and abilities. Then, once you have the credential, you’ll have the credibility that comes with it. The Department of Treasury regulates the EA designation, so all 50 states recognize and respect it. The EA’s universal acceptance and esteem stand in stark contrast to the CPA license, which the state boards of accountancy grant individually.
The variance among CPA license applications and requirements as well as the lack of tax depth in the CPA Exam syllabus means CPAs may or may not be capable of providing knowledge and services equivalent to that of an EA. Accordingly, CPAs don’t usually have the same amount of passion to keep up with and perform tax services. So, when you have the EA license, you’ll be known as the most committed and qualified of tax professionals. Then, when CPAs decline opportunities to provide tax assistance, you can swoop in and deliver the help clients need.
3. Limitless Earning Potential
Because you’ll be a confirmed tax expert with unlimited rights before the IRS, you won’t have to turn down any chance to make money by supplying tax services. Instead, you can complete more complicated tax returns, which means you can increase your earning potential. The services you can offer include helping people with audits, preparing and filing documents on a client’s behalf, attending hearings and conferences in place of your client, and providing written advice to third parties on the tax implications of business transactions.
These services are lucrative not only because they are vast, but also because they are in demand across all industries. All kinds of entities require the assistance of enrolled agents, such as accounting firms, law firms, investment firms, corporate accounting departments, state departments of revenue, banks, and private practices. With so many work opportunities available, you’ll have the freedom to decide if you’d like to work full-time or part-time; year-round or just during busy season; for yourself or someone else. In fact, with the independence you’ll have to work as much as you like and on whatever kind of accounts you like, your earning potential is unlimited.
4. Recession-Proof Job Security
Basically, as long as people must pay taxes, they’ll need the aid of enrolled agents. Therefore, enrolled agents will be in demand indefinitely. Even when the country goes through tough economic times, you can stay afloat on the EA designation. Likewise, in light of continuous changes to the tax code, the enrolled agent designation is always valued. And that’s not to mention the increasing need for enrolled agents in healthier economic climates. The IRS has been bumping up the number of examinations they perform each season, so more people are calling on enrolled agents to get them through audits each year.
5. Educational Requirements
The IRS does not require any specific educational background to become an enrolled agent. Applicants have to pass each section of the three-part exam and undergo a background check. Aspiring EAs may find that an accounting degree sets them apart from their peers. Candidates who already hold undergraduate degrees may boost their skills and knowledge with a certificate in accounting or master’s in taxation.
Jobs You Can Have with an Enrolled Agent Credential
Public Accounting Firm Tax Staff
Public accounting firms are a great place for EAs to work for a variety of reasons: they often offer great benefits, including higher than normal paid time off and a strong sense of job security. At a public accounting firm, EAs can work as tax staff, helping to prepare returns and representing clients before the IRS. EAs will likely work with a variety of clients, from individuals to corporations, and will get highly experienced guidance on tax related matters. Public accounting is a great place to start your career and jump into other jobs, or it can be a great place to continue your career well into the future depending on your need for growth and your firm’s ability to provide it.
Small Accounting Firm Tax Staff
There are plenty of smaller CPA firms out there who have more clients than they know what to do with. This is a great opportunity for an EA – they can come in and take quite a few tax related matters off a small practice owner’s hands. EAs can take on a variety of responsibilities and grow into the role of a tax professional. Small accounting firms can also offer a lot of benefits in terms of scheduling, time-off, work from home opportunities, and growth.
Banks are regulated by the Federal Reserve and therefore have to deal with government oversight on a consistent basis. Having an EA on staff can help banks work with regulations while also making sure they are tax compliant. Banks offer similar benefits to public accounting firms: good salary, good benefits, and high job security. They also have an added benefit of having more paid holidays than most businesses. However, you may have less flexibility in terms of your schedule, so you’ll have to evaluate what’s most important to you in your career.
Law Firm Staff
Tax law firms will definitely benefit from having an EA on staff who can represent clients before the IRS (for example, if the client was audited) and deal with any IRS related notices received on behalf of the client. Law firms are also small businesses which may benefit from having tax personnel on their staff to help them handle their small business taxes. Law firms offer different benefits depending on size. Similar to public accounting firms vs small CPA firms, a large firm will likely offer better pay, more security, and better benefits, while a small firm will offer more ownership and more flexibility.
Investment Firm Staff
Investment firms need tax professionals on staff who can help them minimize the tax obligations of their clients. An EA can advise investment firm staff on how to handle the purchase and sale of investments to ensure the goals of clients are met in any given tax year. Larger investment firms tend to offer very good benefits for their staff, as well as more progressive flexibility. If you’re an EA and you’re interested in investing, this would be a great opportunity to do something you enjoy while also having a lot of salary and work-time flexibility.
Department of Revenue Staff
A great benefit of being an EA is having the ability to work for the IRS or state departments of revenue. This is at the heart of an EAs core duties and responsibilities, and you’ll be guiding people through tax obstacles on a daily basis. Working in government means you’ll likely have better vacation, health, and retirement benefits, as well as increased job security. You may not be paid quite as well as if you worked in the private sector, but you may enjoy knowing you’re working for an entity meant to serve the public.
CEO or Owner of Your Own Business
Many EAs start their own tax preparation and planning businesses. You would perform all the essential duties of an EA: tax preparation, tax strategy, and representing clients before the IRS. You may also incorporate bookkeeping services into your practice, or start a small business with a partner who does advising and accounting related work to have a fully rounded accounting practice.
The sky’s the limit when you start your small business, and it really gives you a chance to work with your passions. Having your own business offers the greatest benefits while posing the largest risk. You may have unlimited flexibility, but you’ll have to earn clients to make money. You can make a lot of money, but you may have more clients than you want to deal with. It’s all about balance when owning your own business.
Staff of Small Businesses in Various Industries
Most every business would benefit from having an EA on staff. Small business owners don’t usually have the time to deal with tax related matters or IRS notices, and would really benefit from having someone on staff who could help them with their accounting throughout the year and their taxes during tax season. Having an EA in house also means small business owners can actively take advantage of tax minimizing decisions on a regular basis. Each of these areas offer upsides and downsides, and different firms within each area may offer different opportunities. You may find a bank that offers a great salary and flexible schedule, it’s just a matter of looking at your options.
Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to pick one of these careers to be in forever. You may start out in a public accounting firm, move to a bank, and then start your own business. Being an EA means you have the opportunity to try out a few different areas and see what you like. It’s a great career choice for anyone who enjoys helping people while also earning a great salary and having a fair amount of flexibility.
This excerpt from a chart produced by the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP) breaks down the rights the candidates have after becoming an EA:
EA Job Opportunities in India
An Enrolled Agent is a person who has earned the privilege of preparing US tax returns and also representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by passing a three-part comprehensive IRS test covering individual and business tax returns. The course is really useful if you wish to continue any kind of US taxation jobs.There is a wide scope of job opportunities for many who wish to pursue this field.
Many opportunities lie in the US as the course deals with US taxation. Indian ITES – BPO and KPO industry servicing International and US Financial and Accounting domain is growing leaps and bounds. All these firms including BIG4, require knowledgeable and skilled resources to service their US and International clients on US taxation. Enrolled Agent being the highest credential awarded by IRS for US taxation practice; Job seekers with EA qualification are most preferred resources by these companies.
The course is really useful if you wish to continue any kind of US taxation jobs. There is a wide scope of job opportunities for many who wish to pursue this field. Many opportunities lie in the US as the course deals with US taxation.
· Indian ITES – BPO and KPO industry servicing International and US Financial and Accounting domain is growing leaps and bounds. All these firms including BIG4, require knowledgeable and skilled resources to service their US and International clients on US taxation. Enrolled Agent being the highest credential awarded by IRS for US taxation practice; Job seekers with EA qualification are most preferred resources by these companies.
· All fortune 500 companies which have their shared services, International Banks , Financial Institutions , Big 4 and other accounting companies need EA’s in their system . New FATCA (Foreign accounting tax compliance act) rules stipulate that all the Indian banks and Financial Institutions also need to submit reports on transactions entered by US investors. EA’s will be a prime resource to handle these work processes.
Enrolled agent will have opportunity to work in:
· Big 4 audit firms
· Accounting and taxation BPO’s & KPO’s
· Shared service centers
· International Banks & FIs BPO & KPO’s
· Indian banks & FIs
· Indian International companies
Average Enrolled Agent Salary in India
The average salary for an Enrolled Agent is ₹460,838
₹100k – ₹730k
₹58k – ₹110k
₹120k – ₹730k
Based on 19 salary profiles (last updated Mar 08 2022) Source: PayScale
Average Deloitte Tax Consultant salary in India is ₹ 6 Lakhs per year for employees with less than 1 year of experience to 4 years. Tax Consultant salary at Deloitte ranges between ₹ 3.9 Lakhs to ₹ 7.6 Lakhs per year.
As an Enrolled Agent you have opportunities to increase your salary by charging a fee for representation services, tax advice, or opinions on tax matters. EAs can work year-round, representing taxpayers in examinations, audits, installment agreements, collections and appeals. Armed with the ability to provide additional services, the Enrolled Agent credential increases the value you bring to clients, but it also increases the revenue potential that current clients bring to a tax practice. For these reasons, EAs are in high demand and often earn a higher salary than tax return preparers who are unable to offer these services.
On average, EAs can earn more per year than tax preparers. Individuals who are considering a new career path may find that becoming an enrolled agent is the right choice. Offering excellent job security and the opportunity to have jurisdiction throughout the United States, the position of enrolled agent can provide a good salary along with a rewarding career. Candidates who already hold undergraduate degrees may boost their skills and knowledge with a certificate in accounting or master’s in taxation.
Enrolled Agent Training in India
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