Looking for opportunities to increase client engagement and billable hours? Consider becoming an enrolled agent (EA). EA certification is the highest tax credential awarded by the IRS. In fact, EAs are the only professionals that the U.S. government directly grants the right to practice.

While having a PTIN (preparer tax identification number) allows you to represent your clients before IRS agents and customer service representatives, a PTIN does not allow you to perform services such as signing documents and executing closing agreements, waivers and claims for refund.

EA certification opens many new doors of opportunity for you and your practice, such as:

  1. Offer unrestricted representation. Federal law only grants EAs, licensed attorneys and CPAs the right to represent taxpayers before the IRS without limitation. In other words, EAs can represent clients in all matters of examination, collection and appeals before the IRS.
  2. Cover returns beyond the 1040 series. Have clients who own small businesses, need consultation about estates and trusts planning or operate tax-exempt organizations? The required EA coursework will equip you to consult on and prepare returns for a wide range of federal and state tax forms.
  3. Boost your professional reputation. When you hire a professional, do you prefer them to have certification? The EA credential demonstrates you’ve met a higher standard of tax competency, thus bolstering the confidence clients have in you.
  4. Increase your bottom line. As an EA, you can boost your earnings by up to 40 percent by offering the services above and:
    • Extending the statutory period for tax assessments or collections of tax
    • Executing claims for refund
    • Executing waivers
    • Executing closing agreements
    • Signing document on behalf of clients
    • Signing consents on behalf of clients
  5. Compete with a broader, larger group of tax professionals. As federally-authorized tax practitioners, EAs can perform many of the same tasks as attorneys and CPAs. EAs also set themselves apart from attorneys and CPAs who do not specialize in taxes.
  6. Practice through the U.S. While attorneys and CPAs are typically limited to practicing in the states where they are licensed, EAs can represent taxpayers in any state regarding federal tax matters.