Showing posts from February, 2022

CPA vs. EA: What are the Differences?

Dear Accounting Professor: Can you provide me with an overview of the differences between the CPA and EA credentials? Student Dear Student: Thank you for your question. Assuming that you want to pursue one of these now, I think the table below might help you understand many of the key differences between the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Enrolled Agent (EA) credentials in the United States. (This will not be true outside of the United States because every country determines their own rules.) CPA EA Minimum Education Requirements 150 semester credits (including a Bachelor's degree) for most states (1) None (3) Minimum In-field Experience Requirements At least one year supervised by an actively licensed CPA (2) None (3) Minimum Age Requirements 18-21 years old depending on the licensing state (some states have no age requirements) (1) 18 years old (3) U.S. Citizenship Requirement Most states do not require U.S. citizenship (1) None (14) License Issued By Each State (1)

What is an Enrolled Agent?

Dear Accounting Professor: Can you explain what an Enrolled Agent is and what one has to do to become an Enrolled Agent? Student Dear Student: An Enrolled Agent (EA) is someone who demonstrated knowledge of the federal income tax laws by passing three exams. The first exam is primarily focused on tax matters as they relate to the individual taxpayer. The second exam focuses on tax matters related to the business environment. The third exam focuses on taxation as it relates to estates, gifts, trusts, and matters related to representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS determines the content of each exam and administers the process of obtaining the EA credential. A quick search on the Internet about Enrolled Agents suggests some confusion exists as to if this is a professional credential or a license. For example, the IRS describes its EA as being "the highest credential" available in the IRS (see