The enrolled agent designation is the highest credential awarded by the IRS. Like attorneys and certified public accountants, enrolled agents are empowered to represent clients before the IRS for all matters including audits, collections and appeals. The details of the rights and responsibilities of enrolled agents can be found in Treasury Department Circular 230.
To become an enrolled agent, one must typically obtain a preparer tax identification number (PTIN), pass three comprehensive exams (known as the “special enrollment exams”), and pass a suitability and tax compliance check. One may also obtain relevant experience as an IRS employee in lieu of passing the special enrollment exams.
To maintain their designation, enrolled agents must complete 72 hours continuing education requirements every three years, adhere to rigorous ethical standards, and maintain their PTIN by paying relevant renewal fees.