Patrick A Haggerty

Tax & Accounting Services


Enrolled to represent Taxpayers before the IRS


What is an Enrolled Agent?

An Enrolled Agent (EA) is a federally-authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service for audits, collections, and appeals.

What does the term “Enrolled Agent” mean?

“Enrolled” means to be licensed to practice by the federal government, and “Agent” means authorized to appear in the place of the taxpayer at the IRS.  Only Enrolled Agents, attorneys, and CPAs may represent taxpayers before the IRS.  The Enrolled Agent profession dates back to 1884 when, after questionable claims had been presented for Civil War losses, Congress acted to regulate persons who represented citizens in their dealings with the U.S. Treasury Department.

How does one become an Enrolled Agent?

The license is earned in one of two ways, by passing a comprehensive examination which covers all aspects of the tax code, or having worked at the IRS for five years in a position which regularly interpreted and applied the tax code and its regulations.  All candidates are subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the IRS.

How can Enrolled Agent help me?

Enrolled Agents advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts, and any entities with tax-reporting requirements.  Enrolled Agents’ expertise in the continually changing field of taxation enables them to effectively represent taxpayers audited by the IRS.

Privilege and the Enrolled Agent

The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 allow federally authorized practitioners (those bound by the Department of Treasury’sCircular 230 regulations) a limited client privilege.  This privilegeallows confidentiality between the taxpayer and the Enrolled Agentunder certain conditions.  The privilege applies to situations in whichthe taxpayer is being represented in cases involving audits andcollection matters.  It is not applicable to the preparation and filingof a tax return.  This privilege does not apply to state tax matters,although a number of states have an accountant-client privilege.

Are Enrolled Agents required to take continuing professional education?

In addition to the stringent testing and application process, theIRS requires Enrolled Agents to complete 72 hours of continuingprofessional education, reported every three years, to maintain theirEnrolled Agent status.  NAEA members are obligated to complete 90 hoursper three year reporting period.  Because of the knowledge necessary tobecome an Enrolled Agent and the requirements to maintain the license,there are only about 46,000 practicing Enrolled Agents.

What are the differences between Enrolled Agents and other tax professionals?

Only Enrolled Agents are required to demonstrate to the IRS theircompetence in matters of taxation before they may represent a taxpayerbefore the IRS.  Unlike attorneys and CPAs, who may or may not chooseto specialize in taxes, all Enrolled Agents specialize in taxation. Enrolled Agents are the only taxpayer representatives who receive theirright to practice from the U.S. government (CPAs and attorneys arelicensed by the states).

Are Enrolled Agents bound by any ethical standards?

Enrolled Agents are required to abide by the provisions of theDepartment of Treasury’s Circular 230, which provides the regulationsgoverning the practice of Enrolled Agents before the IRS.  NAEA membersare also bound by a Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct ofthe Association.

Why should I choose an Enrolled Agent who is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA)?

The principal concern of the National Association of Enrolled Agentsand its members is honest, intelligent and ethical representation ofthe financial position of taxpayers before the governmental agencies. Members of NAEA must fulfill continuing professional educationrequirements that exceed the IRS’ required minimum.  In addition, NAEAmembers adhere to a stringent Code of Ethics and Rules of ProfessionalConduct of the Association, as well as the Treasury Department’sCircular 230 regulations.  NAEA members belong to a strong network ofexperienced, well-trained tax professionals who effectively representtheir clients and work to make the tax code fair and reasonablyenforced.

How can I find an Enrolled Agent?

The easiest and fastest way to locate an Enrolled Agent in your area is to visit www.naea.org. The ‘Find an EA’ function located on the home page will allow you tosearch instantly by locality or specialty.  You can also call800-424-4339, the EA referral service.  This is an unattended service,but you can request to receive your response by email, fax or mail andall calls are answered within 2 business days.  You might also want tocheck in your local yellow pages under ‘Tax Preparation’, and look forthe phrase ‘Enrolled Agent, Enrolled to Represent Taxpayers before theIRS’ or the ‘EA” credential following the professional’s name.

Contact Us

phaggerty@prodigy.net

919-636-3088

104R NC HWY 54 West #358, Carrboro, NC 27510