Enrolled Agents: America's Tax Expert
What is an Enrolled Agent?
Enrolled Agents (EAs) are the only federally licensed tax practitioners who have demonstrated technical competence in tax law and are the only taxpayer representatives licensed to practice by the United States government. Only EAs, Attorneys and CPAs may represent taxpayers without limitation before the IRS. EAs advise and represent taxpayers before the IRS who are being examined, taxpayers who are unable to pay, and taxpayers who wish to avoid or recover penalties. EAs prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts and any other entities with tax-reporting requirements. Unlike Attorneys and CPAs, who may or may not choose to specialize in taxes, all EAs specialize in taxation and are required by the federal government to maintain their professional skills with continuing professional education.
History of Enrolled Agents
EA is the professional designation for an Enrolled Agent. After the Civil War, many citizens had problems settling claims with the government for horses and other property confiscated for use in the war effort. After many petitions and much pleading, Congress, in 1884, endowed Enrolled Agents with the power of advocacy to prepare claims against the government and to seek equitable justice for the citizenry. For many years, the purpose of the Enrolled Agent was to act in this capacity.
In 1913, when the income tax was passed, the job of the Enrolled Agent was expanded to include claims for monetary relief for citizens whose taxes had become inequitable. As the income tax, estate, gift and other sources of tax collections became more complex, the role of the Enrolled agent increased to include the preparation of the many tax forms that were required. Additionally, as audits became more prevalent, their role evolved into taxpayer advocacy and negotiating with the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of their clients.
In 1972, EAs united to form a national association to represent the needs and interests of EAs and the rights of taxpayers. That association is today called the National Association of Enrolled Agents. Through their national association and state affiliates, Enrolled Agents have successfully defended their rights to practice and furthered the passage of legislation and administrative rules that benefit both tax practitioners and ordinary citizens.
Certified Tax Coach - Who Needs Tax Planning Anyway?
When was the last time your tax professional came to you and said “Here’s an idea that can save you money?” Typical tax professionals focus on putting the right numbers, in the right boxes, on the right forms. They do a great job recording history – usually the history you give them.
If you want to keep every dollar the law allows, you can’t afford to wait until April 15th. You need a plan that takes advantage of every legal deduction, credit, loophole, and strategy available.
Certified Tax Coaches™ focus on proactive tax strategies to save you money before April 15th. They don’t just record history – they help you write it.
Certified Tax Coaches™ are tax professionals who have completed special training in advanced and proactive tax planning, along with ongoing continuing education requirements. They also must adhere to the American Institute of Certified Tax Coaches™ Code of Ethics. A Certified Tax Coach™ can give you the plan you need to stop wasting money on taxes you don’t have to pay.
Who Needs Tax Planning?
Former President Jimmy Carter called the Internal Revenue Code “a disgrace to the human race.” Not everyone shares the same opportunities for tax planning. If your income comes solely from a job, and your deductions are simple, you may not need the expertise of a Certified Tax Coach™ . However, if you fall into one of these three groups, you can’t afford to miss out on the benefit from their insight and analysis:
•You own your own business: Owning your own business, even a startup or sideline business, is the best tax shelter left in America. Are you taking advantage of every chance to pay less tax?
•You own real estate: Real estate is a great tax shelter and a foundation of countless family fortunes. Tax laws favor real estate to make housing more affordable. Does your tax pro understand how to make those laws work for you? Or are you missing little-known but legal opportunities to pay less?
•You manage investments: Today’s volatile market proves you can’t control whether your investments go up or down. But you can control how you pay tax on those investments. You can also choose investments that reward you with tax-advantaged or even tax-free income. Do your advisors know how to structure the most tax-efficient portfolio for you?
Lynn A. Schmidt is an Enrolled Agent (America’s Tax Expert) and a Certified Tax Coach. It’s my job to take a proactive approach with clients by performing a comprehensive and expert analysis of their tax situation and utilizing the current tax code to uncover opportunities which could potentially empower them to have a positive impact on future tax outcomes. In depth planning is not something that can be done “after-the-fact” during tax season; that is to say – simply reviewing history. My job is to help you “write history”. I hope that the information provided to you encourages YOU to be proactive and inspire you to reduce your tax burden! We love tax questions and look forward to sharing our knowledge and expertise with those that want to help themselves.