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Top 5 Reasons to Become an Enrolled Agent

If you’re in tax accounting and looking to capitalize on the hot job market, earning your Enrolled Agent designation is the best way to make the next step in your career a big one. What can earning your EA do for your career? These are the top 5 reasons to become an Enrolled Agent:

  1. The EA is borderless
  2. Higher salary and better job security
  3. Certification could soon be a requirement
  4. Tax representation can be lucrative
  5. Fewer requirements than a CPA

Keep reading to find out why you should work toward earning your EA sooner rather than later.

The EA is borderless.

We live in an increasingly virtual world, and the upward trend of remote work means many professionals are looking for careers that allow for flexibility. EAs are federally licensed and can practice in any state. While it’s explicitly for U.S. tax, a global economy means you can probably find work as an Enrolled Agent almost anywhere, which makes the EA a prime choice for tax advisors looking to transition to remote work. Being able to practice anywhere gives you more flexibility than you get with other accounting certifications, like the CPA, which operate by State Board rules.

Sign up to watch our webinar and learn more about the EA exam and the top reasons to become an EA.

Higher salary and better job security!

Enrolled Agents earn an average salary of $64,264 in the U.S., which is about $22,823 more than their unenrolled counterparts. As a tax preparer, your salary is likely going to increase the longer you are in the tax profession, but earning your EA—which you can do in less than a year—can increase it by the same amount as earning years of experience. And you’ll instead spend those years increasing your income above that higher base rate.

The EA certification opens up opportunities to work in many different roles in a variety of businesses including accounting firms or tax offices. Big 4 firms hire EAs for various positions because they can practice in all 50 states and prepare taxes for international clients filing in the U.S. Many EAs who have been in the field for a while go on to launch their own tax practices, providing extra flexibility in their careers.

Plus, regardless of how the economy performs, people will always need help preparing taxes or dealing with the IRS. Earning your EA designation will give you expertise and opportunities to move forward in your career.

Certification could soon be a requirement

Evolving tax legislation Opens in new window and the recent push from lawmakers to require certification puts unenrolled tax preparers at a disadvantage. By getting started now, you’ll already be certified, or at least partially through your studies, by the time new legislation could go into effect. Compared to other accounting certifications, the EA is a designation given by the IRS that authorizes tax preparers to represent taxpayers. The EA designation proves that you’re qualified and establishes the trust that the government is looking for in tax preparers.

Plus, becoming an EA is an investment in yourself that will pay off over the course of your career. With today’s job market, it’ll pay off sooner rather than later. It’s our firm belief that everyone who works with federal tax returns should aspire to become an Enrolled Agent, and our Premium EA Review System makes it possible for most tax professionals and paraprofessionals to pass all three parts of the EA exam in one year.

Tax representation can be lucrative

Many tax returns aren’t straightforward, and there will be clients that file late, owe back taxes, or have some other tax issue that you can help rectify once you get your Enrolled Agent certification. You don’t need to rely on a CPA for these types of clients when you’re an EA. Becoming an Enrolled Agent will expand your customer base, and you’ll be able to bring in more customers during the off-season.

Becoming an EA is a great way to signal to your clients that you’re committed to meeting their needs. EAs have unlimited representation rights. Without an EA credential, a non-certified tax preparer is only able to represent clients whose tax returns they have prepared and signed. In contrast, EAs can represent their clients before the IRS on any matter, including audits and appeals. In short, EAs act as agents of taxpayers faced with matters involving income taxes, estate and gift taxes, employment taxes, and excise taxes. Enrolled agents report higher job satisfaction and higher than average income than tax preparers without a designation. 

Fewer requirements than a CPA.

Compared to the CPA, earning the EA designation is a less strenuous process. There are no education or experience requirements. After you pass the Enrolled Agent exam [or Special Enrollment Exam (SEE)] and the IRS background check, you can focus on tax preparation and client representation without having to jump through the hurdles required to become a CPA. If you become an EA and are still interested in also earning your CPA, we’ve laid out the benefits of dual certification.

The steps to become an Enrolled Agent are much less demanding than other accounting certifications. The only requirements to become an EA are to:

  1. Obtain a PTIN (Personal Tax Identification Number)
  2. Schedule and take the Enrolled Agent exam and pass all three parts within 2 years
  3. Apply for enrollment
  4. Pass a suitability check

The lack of education requirements makes it easier for students to earn their EA certifications. If students participate in programs like the IRS’s VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program, they will gain valuable tax preparation experience that can help them study for and pass their EA exams before graduation. If you’re already working as a tax preparer, it’s a good idea to study for the EA exam after tax season since you’ll already be familiar with recent tax law and your schedule should be calming down after the busy season.

Ready to get started?

A good first step is to join professional organizations for tax preparers, like NATP Opens in new window (National Association of Tax Professionals), which offer benefits, resources, and discounts to their members, and provide you with opportunities to network with other professionals in the same field.

More Enrolled Agents have chosen Gleim to help them earn their designation than any other review provider. Our SmartAdapt™ technology will guide your studies and tell you when you’re ready to pass. Try it for yourself in a free demo of our course!