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 Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service for audits, collections and appeals.
“Enrolled” means to be licensed by the Federal Government, and “Agent” means authorized to appear in place of the taxpayer 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.
EAs are the only practitioners licensed by the federal government as representatives for taxpayers. CPAs and attorneys, who do not necessarily specialize in tax matters, are licensed by the states. Fewer that one-third of the applicants taking the Special Enrollment Examination have passed this rigorous exam.