Professional Designations


What is an Enrolled Agent?

An enrolled agent is a federally licensed tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and is licensed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers for audits, collections and appeals before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service.  Attorneys and CPAs may or may not choose to focus on taxes, but all enrolled agents specialize in taxation.  Enrolled agents are the only tax practitioners required by federal law to maintain their expertise through continuing professional education, focused on tax.  Due to the expertise necessary to become an enrolled agent and the requirements to maintain the license, there are only about 40,000 practicing enrolled agents.

Enrolled agents have such diverse backgrounds and may offer a variety of services; while some EA?s work only during tax season, others have year-round practices.  In addition to tax preparation and tax representation, many enrolled agents offer other business-related services which may include:

  • Accounting and Bookkeeping
  • Financial planning or budgeting
  • Payroll services
  • Financial statement preparation

Enrolled agents are the only taxpayer representatives who receive their right to practice directly from the U.S. government, certified public accountants and attorneys are licensed by states and their licenses are state specific.  Enrolled Agents are required to abide by the provisions of the Treasury Department?s Circular 230 which provides the regulations governing the practice of enrolled agents.    The profession has been regulated by Congress since 1884.


What is an Accredited Tax Advisor?

The ATA is a premier national tax credential for practitioners who have extensive experience of five years or more in tax planning who handle sophisticated tax planning issues, including planning for owners of closely held businesses, planning for the highly compensated, choosing qualified retirement plans and performing estate tax planning.  Their expertise covers tax returns for individuals, business entities, fiduciaries, trusts and estates, as well as tax planning, tax consulting and ethics.  This designation is awarded through the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation (ACAT).


What is an Accredited Tax Preparer?

The ATP is a leading national credential for tax practitioners who have at least three years of tax preparation experience and have a thorough knowledge of the existing tax code and the preparation of individual tax returns with an expertise in comprehensive 1040 issues including supporting schedules, self-employed returns, and ethics.   This designation is awarded through the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation (ACAT).