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What is an IRS Enrolled Agent and How Do I Check Out an EA?

What is an IRS Enrolled Agent?

What is an IRS Enrolled Agent?


Enrolled Agents are certified by the IRS to file taxes, and handle other tax issues.

This is a review of how to research the reputation of an IRS Enrolled Agent who you can hire if the government files a federal tax lien against you, or your business, if you owe the IRS back taxes.  If you have questions about this review, please reference:  bp87.

As usual, If you like the tone of this writing, I would like to refer you to someone who meets irs back tax help criteria.  Please contact irs back tax help.  Before you email me, please click on and read “About irs back tax help.”  Or you can call toll free at 800.913.8134 and press “0” to bypass the auto-attendant. 

I have personal experience with Enrolled Agents that are excellent at addressing IRS back tax problems.  I also have personal experience with IRS Enrolled Agents (EA) that are horrible at it.  I have the same experience with attorneys and CPAs.  What is the difference between an Enrolled Agent, Attorney, and CPA?  You want a specialist, not a “Jack of All Trades”.

  • What is the lesson?  Due Diligence is important.  Do not take their word for it and always do your homework.  Generally speaking, it’s my experience that local EAs who file taxes lack the experience necessary to handle complicated back tax problems.  EAs that handle only back tax problems and typically don’t file taxes for their clients unless it’s required to fix back tax problems are experienced enough to handle complicated delinquent tax issues.

What is an IRS Enrolled Agent?

An Enrolled Agent is someone who has passed the EA Exam administered by the IRS and maintains their certification through ongoing education.  Not all Enrolled Agents have previously worked for the IRS.  Some have been employed by the IRS.  It is my opinion from anecdotal observation that where and how long the Enrolled Agent worked for the IRS may affect the outcome of your back tax resolution.  Some important questions for you EA if they are highlighting their IRS experience:

  • Where did you work in the IRS? 

You want people who worked in the IRS Collection Division.

  • How long did you work for the IRS? 

You want someone who got into that giant bureaucratic organization and did not like it, and got out quickly.  You do not want someone who is comfortable in that organization.  In order to be successful in a bureaucracy, you don’t “rock the boat”.  You want someone who can think outside the box.  If you’re interviewing any form of representation, and they seemed resigned to “giving in” to the IRS, move on.  You need an active advocate, not a revolving door.

How do I check out an IRS Enrolled Agent’s reputation? 

  • “An individual seeking to confirm someone’s enrollment should contact the Detroit Office of Practitioner Enrollment at (313)234-1280 (not a toll-free number) or by email at  When making a verification inquiry, the caller must provide the full name (including middle name or initial if known), and city and state of the enrolled agent.  The caller will receive verification whether the individual is an enrolled agent, the enrolled agent’s enrollment number and whether the enrolled agent is currently in active status.  If the enrolled agent’s status is other than “active”, the caller also will be told whether the status category is: inactive enrollment, inactive retirement, terminated, suspended, or disbarred and the date such status became effective.”

 If you have any misgivings, look around a little more.  As usual, we’re happy to be a second opinion.  You will be treated well if you contact us, for proof read irs back tax help testimonials.  if you’d like me to refer someone to you who meets irs back tax help hiring criteria, contact irs back tax help.


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3 responses to “What is an IRS Enrolled Agent and How Do I Check Out an EA?

  1. smithjhn February 8, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    Very informative Blog….
    Thnks For Posting this blog……

  2. Brian August 12, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    My experience with Enrolled Agents mirrors your comments. The optimal representatives for addressing back tax problems have work histories with IRS Collections. Their negotiation skills are crucial. However, I also find that having passed the Enrolled Agent exam is a plus if prior year tax returns are not yet filed. The tax preparation skills learned are beneficial for capturing all available deductions by knowing the typical factors to uncover. A little study with a sound course such as allows tax professionals to pass the EA exam on the first try. The combination of inside knowledge about IRS protocol plus income tax reporting ability is very powerful. Your organization and the National Association of Enrolled Agents ( are both valuable in helping troubled taxpayers know that they are working with highly capable EAs.

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