How Do Enrolled Agents & CPA’s Differ?

  •  At Incompass, we don’t employ seasonal non-licensed tax preparers, like the big chains hire. Our tax professionals are LICENSED Enrolled Agents (EAs) or Certified Public Accountants (CPAs).

    Most people know what a CPA is or have at least heard the term CPA, but many are not aware of the tax professionals called EAs. One reason is that there are about ten times more CPAs than EAs.

    EAs are federally licensed by the Dept. of Treasury to prepare tax returns and represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the IRS for audits, collections and appeals and must demonstrate competency in tax law. Unlike CPAs, most EAs are not accountants, but some have an accounting degree and many have experience in bookkeeping.

    To become an EA one must pass a comprehensive test on federal tax law or have worked for the IRS for five years, regularly interpreting the Tax Code and regulations. The best EAs are usually members of professional associations like CSEA or NAEA, which require a high standard of ethics, professional conduct and thirty hours of tax education or more each year.

    CPAs are licensed by each state as accounting professionals and may or may not specialize in taxes or representation matters before the IRS. Many CPAs practice in non-tax areas like, cost accounting, valuations or forensic fraud. The CPAs at Incompass are proficient in both accounting and tax matters.

    Only Enrolled Agents, CPAs and Attorneys can represent taxpayers before the IRS and other government tax agencies. Most practicing EAs and CPAs provide tax services year-round, including tax preparation, tax planning and IRS representation, unlike many unlicensed tax preparers who only work seasonal.

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