Proposed Legislative Fix Enrolled Agents
Everyone seems to be apoplectic over the status of the evolving tax legislation wending its way through Congress. What hasn’t been talked about much is enhancing the protection of taxpayers rights, privacy and ability to obtain competent representation. It is difficult to imagine that any reasonable member of Congress of either party would be opposed to that goal.
Attorneys and certified public accountants have been subject to education and experience requirement for decades, and the reality demonstrates that the requirements work. This stands in sharp contrast to other tax practitioners, particularly the “tax resolution” companies that seem to constantly be under investigation, sanction, suit or prosecution by state attorneys’ general and other agencies.It would seem like an opportune time for Congress to assist in the upgrade of professional standing and credibility of the “runt” of the Circular 230 practitioner ranks…”Enrolled Agents” [“EA’s”]. At present, EA’s have neither education or experience requirements, and only have to pass a multiple choice exam to be credentialed. There is a simple fix for that which would be added to the current tax legislative proposal with minimal effort. It would look something like this:
31 USC § 330 (a) by adding new subparagraph (E) to read“(1)Notwithstanding anything else contained in this Title, the Commissioner is directed to modify Circular 230 to expressly require that the grant of full representation rights to an Enrolled Agent shall require that the Enrolled Agent meet the minimum education requirements [specifically inclusive of accounting course hours] to be not less than the current requirements for IRS Revenue Agent, Grade GS5, Series 0512.(2) Effective as of the date of enactment, any Enrolled Agent that does not meet the education requirement in (1) above shall be required to be supervised by an attorney, certified public accountant, or Enrolled Agent that does meet the requirement of (1) above.(3) For purposes of classification under (2) above each Enrolled Agent shall be classified based upon a review of the educational background and reclassified as though they had become an Enrolled Agent upon the date of the enactment of this legislation”.
A rather elegant way to give Enrolled Agents parity with attorneys and CPA’s. It is beyond baffling why any EA could identify a plausible objection to such a magnanimous effort to help improve their self-image.