What is the difference between an IRS Enrolled Agent (EA) and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

business Aug 21, 2023

What’s an EA aka Enrolled Agent? How are you different than a CPA aka Certified Public Accountant? 

These are TWO very common questions I hear these days, so here is a brief overview, to help bring some clarity. 


⭐️ EA is the highest credential awarded by the IRS to a tax professional. EA's generally have two pass a series of comprehensive exams or having prior experience as an IRS employee. EAs specialize in tax matters and have the authority to represent taxpayers in ALL tax matters, including audits collections and appeals.

⭐️ CPAs are licensed accountants with diverse financial knowledge. A CPA is a professional accountant who has met specific education requirements, passed the Uniform CPA Exam and obtain a state License to practice accounting. CPAss may offer various accounting services beyond taxation, such as consulting and financial planning. 



⭐️ EAs are designated by the IRS and can practice in ANY state. You can work with an EA across state lines. 

⭐️A CPA obtains their license through their state and are required different licenses for each state they wish to practice in. 



⭐️ EAs are specifically authorized to practice by the IRS can represent taxpayers in ALL taxes matters before the IRS. Enrolled Agents can provide comprehensive tax services and represent taxpayers at all stages of an IRS case from beginning to end. 

⭐️ CPAs have the authority to represent taxpayers before the IRS in various tax matters. However, CPAs may not have the extensive knowledge of tax specific laws and regulations as Enrolled Agents ass their scope is often beyond taxation. 



⭐️ EAs are required to completed at least 72hrs of continuing education every three years, including at least 16 hours of tax law updates. 

⭐️CPAs have specific requirements for continuing education which vary by state. Typically, this does also includes completing a certain number of hours of continuing education courses within a specific period. 


Tax-Wise Moment

Both CPAs and EAs are professionals who specialize in tax matters. However CPAs have a broader scope of practice. EAs specifically focuses on tax matters and have the authority to represent clients in all tax related matters before the IRS.



IRS Resource: What's An Enrolled Agent


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.