You’ll have to pay this fee the first time you apply to your state board, and it ranges from $30 to $200, depending on the state board. There’s also a registration fee for each section of the exam each time you take it. This fee typically runs from $30 to $150, and if you have to retake an exam section, you may have to pay it each time. To become an enrolled agent, you must either take the EA exam, also known as the Special Enrollment Exam , or have previous work experience at the IRS. Passing the exam is much easier once you have several years of tax experience.
The EA credential is also more client-focused than a CPA credential. These are both factors to weigh alongside salary numbers for each profession. CPAs can only practice in the state they are certified in, while EAs can practice in all 50 states because their license is awarded at the federal level. EAs are not as common but as clients recognize their specific skills, the demand is growing. CPAs are widely known in the business and accounting world.
How Do I Become an Enrolled Agent?
Widely recognized tax credentials include enrolled agent and certified public accountant . Both EAs and CPAs handle taxes, while CPAs also offer accounting, attest, and business consulting. ea vs cpa The requirements to obtain and keep each credential also differ. Because they specialize in more than one field of accounting, they don’t just focus on the one sector.
As youweigh the two options, consider differences in salary, job function and career path. A CPA’s average salary is around $62,000 while the average EA salary is around $50,000. As with any salary reporting, a lot depends on various state and regional differences, which have an impact on both clients and earnings. Bryce Welker is a dynamic speaker, expert blogger, and founder of over 20 test prep websites. He shares his knowledge on Forbes, Inc.com, and Entreprenuer.com, empowering readers to boost their careers.
Can You Represent Yourself?
Julia Kagan is a financial/consumer journalist and former senior editor, personal finance, of Investopedia. After weighing all the pros and cons of each job, now it’s your turn to deciding between becoming a CPA or an Enrolled agent. Now that you understand the similarities and differences of CPAs and EAs, you’ll be better prepared to make a selection and have full confidence in your tax specialist. A bachelor’s degree or higher in finance, accounting, or business administration. The National Association of State Board of Accountancy estimates that there are 665,612 actively licensed CPAs as of August 24, 2022. Comparing an EA vs a CPA, there are 10 times more CPAs than EAs.
- Each exam lasts 3.5 hours and contains 100 multiple-choice questions.
- There is no tuition fee for the H&R Block Income Tax Course; however, you may be required to purchase course materials, which may be non-refundable.
- We will not represent you before the IRS or state tax authority or provide legal advice.
- CPAs will help you to keep important records and receipts and to get your books in order to streamline business for the future.
- The IRS recognizes EAs as a trusted channel for communication and representation.
Usually speaking, even if you are a CPA your income would quickly outpace that of an enrolled agent. Enrolled agents specialize in tax issues, this includes preparation of taxes for individuals, business entities and also advising clients. You can find job opportunities at the tax preparation franchises or working for a CPA. Both the CPA and EA are great certifications that most of the tax professionals want to do in order to advance their taxation careers. Though the CPA and EA help you in seeking a fruitful career you should know the differences between them to move forward and make your decision. Let’s get in detail about the most commonly confused job titles EA and CPA, compare each one and see which one is right for you.
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Additionally, the questions on the REG CPA Exam section are harder than those on the EA exam. The EA questions are easier, so most candidates only need a few months to pass the EA exam as opposed to the months typically needed to pass the CPA Exam. In this case, the benefit of the EA exam is that the sooner you can get licensed, the sooner you and your clients can enjoy your improved status with the IRS. Enrolled agents, or EAs, are tax preparers the IRS has authorized to represent taxpayers. Enrolled agent clients include individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts, and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. In order to become an EA, you must pass an IRS-administered test commonly referred to as the EA exam.
You’ll receive your exam results immediately, and once you’ve passed, you can apply for enrollment. The IRS explains that processing your application may take as long as 60 days ( days if you’re a former IRS employee). Also, as part of their evaluation of your enrollment application, the IRS will conduct a suitability test that includes a review of your personal tax compliance. Our TurboTax Live Full Service Guarantee means your tax expert will find every dollar you deserve. Your expert will only sign and file your return if they believe it’s 100% correct and you are getting your best outcome possible. If you get a larger refund or smaller tax due from another tax preparer, we’ll refund the applicable TurboTax Live Full Service federal and/or state purchase price paid.
What does EA stand for in audit?
An enrolled agent is a federally licensed tax practitioner who has unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS for any issues relating to collections, audits, or tax appeals.