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What Is an Enrolled Agent—and Could Your Business Benefit from EA Advice?

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


“Enrolled” means that a tax expert is specially trained, tested, and licensed to practice as a tax expert by the Federal Government. The term “agent” means that these experts are authorized to appear before the IRS on behalf of a taxpayer. 

The role of Enrolled Agents dates back to 1884, when, after questionable claims had been made by people and businesses for Civil War losses, the U.S. Congress began to regulate the representatives of citizens in their dealings with the U.S. government.

EAs earn their designation through a combination of documenting relevant work experience and passing a comprehensive IRS examination that covers individual and business tax returns. EAs are required to adhere to strict ethical standards and must participate in ongoing professional education to maintain their status. For more information, go to


Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an accounting professional who has completed a college degree (usually in accounting), passed the Uniform CPA Exam, and fulfilled the experience requirements.

EAs and CPAs both offer financial services; however, the qualifications, focus areas, and regulatory oversight are different. CPAs are not automatically granted the same representation rights before the IRS as EAs.

Working with an EA vs CPA, you will find the EA is a tax pro with wide and deep knowledge about tax issues around income, filing returns, estate planning, gifts, payroll, retirement, and tax problems.

Moreover, our teammates are trained to provide a variety of accounting services to support small business and their families. We understand that your business and personal affairs intertwine, which is why we work with you in a comprehensive way to ensure both aspects of your financial life are in harmony. We continually strive to make sure that you are well informed when it comes to cashflow, retirement, estate, insurance and college planning — not just taxes.

You will have the personal attention you deserve.

Bernstein Financial Services Inc. has guided business owners through the complexities of the tax code and improved their profit margins since 1989. This article is for educational purposes only and should not be taken for business advice about your specific situation. Schedule a consultation appointment with a Principal at Bernstein Financial Services to help you determine your optimal planning strategies.