As of now, a career that emerged in 1884 as a result of civil war loss claim has successfully sailed the calm and rough seas to become today’s Enrolled Agent (EA). An Enrolled Agent (EA) is an upskilled tax specialist who deals with US tax laws and applications in and outside the USA. EAs are entitled to tackle all US tax-related issues of an individual as well as business/corporate entities, trusts, NGOs, etc. that comes under the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) as a whole which includes tax return preparation to represent the client in front of IRS in relation to any dispute or settlement.
EAs are privileged because the IRS empowers them with special tools that make them much better equipped with knowledge and skills than non-EA tax preparers. As a result, EA is the top credential under the IRS umbrella, making it prestigious in the job market. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can also handle the same tax-related issues, but they have a broader horizon than the specific niche of EAs.
Why be an EA rather than CPA?
The EA credential involves successful clearance of a 3-part Special Enrollment Exam (SEE) rather than a 4-part CPA exam. The unique point in the EA journey is academic eligibility. Unlike CPA, there is no educational requirement to sit for SEE. Furthermore, the course duration is much shorter than a CPA course and is considered easier to pass. Lastly, a CPA has a state license, while an EA gets a federal license and can practice anywhere in the country and represent clients from any state.
Hence, anyone focusing on the IRS-governed US tax domain rather than public accounting should opt for an EA credential rather than a CPA. Moreover, EAs can work part-time or full-time as practicing status. It has to be noted that besides an attorney or a CPA, only EAs are authorized to plead and represent taxpayers before the IRS for tax-related issues.
The Job Security
As we all know, irrespective of the state of the economy, be it stable, inflation, or recession, taxes are there to stay with various reforms with increasing numbers of taxpayers. In this scenario, one can interpret the importance of an EA with continuous professional education (CPE). Thus, EA appears as a future-proof job type in all economic conditions of the country.
Job Sectors for EAs
Public Accounting Firm (PAF)
In this sector, EAs can play the role of tax return preparer and represent clients in front of the IRS concerning any tax-related issues. In addition, PAFs often offer higher salaries and work flexibility.
Many MNCs, including Big 4s as well as BPOs, KPOs, or any organization which follows US taxation and is accountable to IRS, are great places for EAs to venture. Attractive packages are offered to EAs more than an average commerce graduate.
Banks under federal regulations hire EAs to review the rules and tax compliance. In return, EAs get a good salary, benefits, and job security.
EAs are hired here because an EA can advise how to minimize the tax burden in various investments, including buying and selling, to maintain clients’ interests.
EAs find an excellent place to work in tax law firms, mainly for the representation of clients before the IRS. The packages of EAs in such organizations vary with the size of the clientele.
Nevertheless, this option is open to every EA to start their consultancy firm where the sky would be the limit. Outsourcing for individuals and corporations, trusts, or NGOs can be highly rewarding regarding money and freedom.