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When to call an Enrolled Agent

When to call an Enrolled Agent

  • 1. What is an Enrolled Agent?

Enrolled Agents (E.A.’s) are America’s Tax Experts. E.A.’s are the only federally licensed tax practitioners and the ONLY  tax professionals who are defined in the U.S. Tax Code, who have unlimited rights to represent you the taxpayer before the IRS.  Enrolled Agents were created in 1884 when President Chester A. Arthur signed into law “The Enabling Act”.  This Act provided rules to regulate persons who represent citizens dealing with the U.S. Treasury Department or IRS.

  • 2. Call in an Enrolled Agent if you have:
  • Unresolved disputes with the IRS
  • Un-filed tax returns
  • Collection activity
  • Any and ALL issues you may need to deal with the IRS

3. Heard from the IRS lately? Received correspondence? Had your bank account levied? Even had assets repossessed or your wages garnished?

Whether or not the IRS has begun collection proceedings, don’t delay in getting the proper representation. First and foremost, interests and penalties continue to accrue while you wait. Second, there are programs and laws that can work to help resolve your problem, provided you start working with your Enrolled Agent to get started as soon as possible.

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IRS problems left unresolved can escalate into an adversarial situation simply because you don’t understand exactly how to proceed. The IRS is not obligated to make sure you understand their communications, and it rarely admits to mistakes it may have made.

Enrolled Agents provides the level of representation you need to resolve problems ranging from paperwork disputes through to negotiating resolutions to large tax liabilities. As Enrolled Agents, we are licensed to work in any state and at the federal level. We have years of experience dealing with IRS problems. Plus, our experience with business accounting and tax preparation allows us to analyze and present all aspects of your financial situation.

The IRS tends to win most of it’s audits because the typical taxpayer doesn’t provide the proper documentation. Using an Enrolled Agent to represent you increases your odds of a successful outcome, because we know how to gather and present the right information to the IRS in one of these audit scenarios:

  • Correspondence Audits: Usually triggered by a question about third-party documentation or a requirement to document or clarify your income or deduction. This type of audit is done by mail.
  • Office and Field Audits: This is a more serious level of audit. You will be asked to produce specific documentation. Your Enrolled Agent will likely recommends that you let them attend in your place and advise you as to what documentation to provide, and in what way. We will make sure that the scope of the audit does not expand, and that your rights in an audit are protected.

Line By Line Audits: The IRS selects random tax returns for this extensive type of audit. You will need professional representation because any errors may lead to penalties. This audit is highly detailed; don’t go in to this process without an IRS expert on your side.

4. What does the term “Enrolled Agent (E.A.)” mean?

Whether or not the IRS has begun collection proceedings, don’t delay in getting the proper representation. First and foremost, interests and penalties continue to accrue while you wait. Second, there are programs and laws that can work to help resolve your problem, provided you start working with your Enrolled Agent to get started as soon as possible.

5. What are the differences between Enrolled Agents and other tax professionals?

Only Enrolled Agents are required to demonstrate to the IRS their competence in all areas of taxation, representation and ethics before they are given unlimited representation rights before IRS. Unlike attorneys and CPA’s, who are state licensed and who may or may not choose to specialize in taxes, all Enrolled Agents specialize in taxation.

6. How can an Enrolled Agent help me?

Enrolled agents advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts, and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. Enrolled Agents’ expertise in the continually changing field of taxation enables them to effectively represent taxpayers at all administrative levels within the IRS.

7. How does one become an Enrolled Agent?

The license is earned in one of two ways, by passing a comprehensive examination which covers all aspects of the tax code, or having worked at the IRS for five years in a position which regularly interpreted and applied the tax code and its regulations. All candidates are subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the IRS.

8. Why should I choose an Enrolled Agent who is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA)?

The principal concern of the National Association of Enrolled Agents and its members is honest, intelligent and ethical representation of the financial position of taxpayers before the governmental agencies. Members of NAEA must fulfill continuing professional education requirements that exceed the IRS’ required minimum. In addition, NAEA members adhere to a stringent Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct of the Association, as well as the Treasury Department’s Circular 230 regulations. NAEA members belong to a strong network of experienced, well-trained tax professionals who effectively represent their clients and work to make the tax code fair and reasonably enforced.

9. Are Enrolled Agents required to take continuing education?

YES!!! In addition to the stringent testing and application process, the IRS requires Enrolled Agents to complete 72 hours of continuing education, reported every three years, to maintain their enrolled agent status. NAEA members are held to a higher standard, they are obligated to complete 30 hours per year (for a total of 90 hours per three year period).  We at Adams & Adams Professional Services, LLC typically exceed this requirement by taking at minimum 60 hours per year (180 hours per three year period), however often much more that this.  Because of the expertise necessary to become an Enrolled Agent and the requirements to maintain the license, there are only about 50,000 practicing Enrolled Agents.

10. Privilege and the Enrolled Agent

The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 allow federally authorized practitioners (those bound by the Department of Treasury’s Circular 230 regulations) a limited client privilege. This privilege allows confidentiality between the taxpayer and the Enrolled Agent under certain conditions. The privilege applies to situations in which the taxpayer is being represented in cases involving audits and collection matters. It is not applicable to the preparation and filing of a tax return. This privilege does not apply to state tax matters, although a number of states have an accountant-client privilege.

11. Can I really make a deal with the IRS?

If you owe back taxes, or have unfiled returns, your life can be a nightmare. The extensive powers granted by Congress to the IRS allows that agency to reach into every corner of your life: your income, your bank account, your assets, your credit, and your peace of mind.

IRS agents speak their own language, and play by rules that you don’t know or understand. Don’t take on this fight by yourself.

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There are numerous options to resolve your tax debt, depending on your situation. Let an Enrolled Agent shoulder the burden for you. We know the options, the IRS rules, and the best ways to handle your tax problem. Solutions range from:

  • Installment agreements
  • Tax relief
  • Tax penalty abatement
  • The release of IRS bank levies and wage garnishments.

Top 10 Tax Filing Tips

Take it from the Experts: Get the most from your return!

1. Choose Your Tax Preparer Wisely…Ask if they are an EA!
Nobody knows your finances better than you do…unless, of course, it’s the IRS. Choosing a licensed tax preparer-who, by virtue of competency testing and mandatory continuing education, has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Treasury to represent taxpayers in all transactions before the Internal Revenue Service-is your best bet.

2. Don’t View Your Refund With Dis-Interest
The average federal refund is approximately $2,300. This represents an interest-free loan by each American taxpayer to the federal government of nearly $200 per month.
And then there’s what you “loan” to your state government, too.
An enrolled agent can show you how to put that money in a rainy day fund and how to right-withhold so you can enjoy your money as you earn it.

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3. Often Overlooked Deductions Can Yield Cash You Didn’t Know You Had

We all know that good feeling of putting on a coat we haven’t worn in a few months, putting our hand in the pocket and pulling out a dollar or two we’d forgotten about. You can get that same feeling by making sure that your tax preparer doesn’t overlook the most overlooked deductions in the categories of tuition, interest, child-care and military reservists expenses, to name a few.
An enrolled agent can show you the deductions you deserve to claim to cut your tax bill.

4. Your Home Shelters More Than Your Family

Mortgage interest deductibility is one of the incentives for home ownership. But did you know that your mortgage insurance premiums may be deductible, too? Your home equity loan interest may be deductible, as well.

Even more important to many who have had their mortgages foreclosed: There’s a new take on the taxable nature of mortgage forgiveness.

An enrolled agent can show you how your home may be your biggest tax shelter.

5. Looking For Your Check? First, You’ve Got To File.

The thinking behind the saying, “You can’t win if you’re not at the table,”might well apply to any refund program to the famous “stimulus checks” to the Earned Income credit. Even if you have no legal responsibility to file a tax return, you still must file in order to get your  check. The IRS website, www.irs.gov www.irs.gov provides the information that you need, or you can contact an enrolled agent who will explain it all and walk you through it.

And beware of scam artists who tell you they can get you your check faster for a portion of the proceeds. They can’t. And it might just put your identity and bank account up for grabs.

6. Self-employed? Make sure you get all the deductions you’re entitled to.

If you’re self-employed, there are unique rules that guide your tax filing-as unique as the service you provide. Your home office and child care expenses, your retirement plan, even FICA taxes take on whole new meaning when you’re working for yourself. Should you defer income and accelerate expenses? Or maybe it’s the other way around. Your tax preparer should know, and an enrolled agent who specializes in preparing taxes for the self-employed will know for sure.

7. High-tech scams will separate you from your money

We’ve all heard the phrase about a sucker being born every minute. Now it seems that there’s a new scam born just as often. The latest involves someone pretending to be from the IRS asking for your Social Security Number and your bank account information so they “can deposit your refund or economic stimulus check directly.”The only direct deposit they will be making is into their own account-most likely from yours.

Remember: It’s rare for the IRS to make its initial contact with you by phone. Usually, the IRS will make initial contact by mail.

8. Make Sure You Get a Receipt, Whether You’re Filing Electronically or by Paper

You’ve worked hard to get your receipts in order so that you can make the most of your allowable deductions. Now get the most important receipt-for filing. Whether you file by mail or electronically, make sure you get a receipt. Sending your return via the U. S. Postal Service’s return receipt service adds only $2.15 to the cost of mailing. Be sure your computer-based tax program prints a receipt for filing.

Whether you prepare your own taxes or an enrolled agent prepares them for you, make sure to get that receipt.

9. Failure to File Red Flags You for Penalties

What’s worse than reaching April 15 with taxes owed and no way to pay? Not filing your taxes. Failing to file your return is a whole lot worse than failing to pay your balance due. Failure to file puts you at risk for penalties and interest. Instead, file your taxes and pay something. Then set up a payment plan with the IRS. An enrolled agent can guide you through the process.

10. It’s April 15, and You’ve Filed Your Taxes. You’re Almost Done.

What? There’s more? Absolutely. Now is the time to pitch out any records that you kept for 2007 that have no bearing on your taxes-the receipt from the drycleaner that was misfiled along with your parking and mileage records, the odd greeting card that made its way into the file for the donated car, the…you get the idea.

And while you’re at it, now is a good time to set up your files for next filing season while the categories that pertain to your unique tax situation are still fresh in your mind.

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