So you have been thinking about becoming an Enrolled Agent? Should you invest in the time, effort and money to pursuit this qualification?
Let me give you 5 good reasons to go ahead.
The US CPA license is considered one of the most, if not the most respected in accounting and tax industry. I always encourage people to check out CPA if they are able to get qualified for the exam.
But if this proves to be impossible, and that you plan to specialize in tax for your career, the EA designation has the same status in the eyes of the IRS.
In fact, EAs, CPAs (and tax attorneys) are the only ones with unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS for audits, collections and appeals. This sets apart from the standard tax preparers out there.
You may have realized, but many active CPA licensees do not engage in taxation work. Some of them don’t like the job nature, while others are probably not confident to perform the task. While there is an exam part for taxation in the CPA exam, the syllabus does not go into practical details and therefore one cannot expect to become tax expert by having the CPA title.
This means great opportunities remain for those who want to specialize in taxation and these professionals go for the Enrolled Agent qualification.
One thing the the EA designation is better than the CPA license is that it is recognized across all states of America. You can advise clients with matters in multiple states.
CPA licenses are granted by states and depending on how the CPA applies for his license, they may or may provide an equivalent service.
On the practical side, the EA exam (technically known as SEE, the Special Enrollment Exam) has 3 parts with pass rate ranging from 60-80%. The coverage is also limited to the tax code and therefore it is easier for those who are or plan to practice in tax.
You generally invest no more than $1,100 on the EA exam, and then spend at most $200-300 per year to maintain it for the license and CPE.
It may cost double or triple for the other qualifications.
There are many Enrolled Agent’s Associations to attend. Those associations will be what increases your tax knowledge if you are able to find a good one and whose members are serious about what they do. Also, some of those meeting allows you to earn CPE.
Check out our guide for beginners, or the most frequently asked questions from our readers:
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