November, 2007

Enrolled Agents: who are they?

This last month, I was asked who Enrolled Agents are, and since I’m one of them, I thought I should respond in general, since it might not be clear to everyone.

An Enrolled Agent (EA) is an individual who has demonstrated technical competence in the field of taxation both by exam (I passed in 1999) and through continuing education. I’m presenting a class on November 3rd (see below) for Enrolled Agents and other tax preparers—I get credit for putting the seminar on, and they get credit for participating.

Enrolled Agents are individuals licensed by the federal government. They can represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service, but we can’t represent you in tax court (that requires an additional certification, and things hardly ever get that far).

You’ve heard the adage “a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client”? This typically applies to tax audits as well. An Enrolled Agent isn’t personally involved and can often provide better representation than you can yourself under the stress of an audit.

Enrolled Agents specialize in taxation. Throughout the year they advise, represent, and prepare returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts, and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. I personally refer out estates and trusts since I specialize in small business tax, and I have yet to prepare a city’s tax return, even though some of them are incorporated.

What’s the difference between Enrolled Agents and CPA’s? Only Enrolled Agents are required to demonstrate competence in matters of taxation before they may represent a taxpayer. They are the only representatives for taxpayers who receive that right from the U. S. government. Plus, we smell nice. CPA’s please see the disclaimer at the bottom of this newsletter. An analogy I like is: if you need surgery you want a surgeon—you wouldn’t want an internist. Enrolled Agents are specialists in tax, although some of us do other things as well.

My work includes advising businesses on things like entity selection, selling your business, and QuickBooks setup, plus the educational seminars and products we offer in addition to the normal tax preparation for small businesses and their owners.

Tax Buddha at Tri Chamber Business Expo 11/8/07

We will be exhibiting at the Tri Chamber Business Expo on Thursday November 8th at the Crown Plaza Hotel, 45 John Glenn Drive, Concord 4 pm – 7 pm. It’s free to the public. Come on by our table and say hi! I expect we’ll be showing some of our videos until we annoy our neighbors. I may even have a photo of Max around.

Classes – Basic Payroll, How to Prepare the 1120S, 'S' Corporation, etc.

In conjunction with the IRS and EDD, Andy's going to be doing some Basic Payroll seminars coming up in the near future. The next seminar will be in Oakland November 7th downtown on Clay Street and again in Oakland December 5th

Basic Payroll again December 13th in San Rafael at 120 North Redwood Drive, 2nd floor, Redwood Room October 24, 9 am – 3 pm. Reservations may be made at 866 873-6083 for the Federal/State Basic Payroll Tax Seminar, or on line at

These seminars have proven to be very popular, plus they’re free.

How to Prepare the 1120S: Getting In and Staying In is a seminar for tax preparers on preparing the annual tax return for “S” corporations. This will be a four hour presentation for $200 on November 3rd at the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Conference Room, 100 Lafayette Circle, Suite 103 in Lafayette. This will be a ‘nuts and bolts’ session, though I’m tempted to call it a “flashlight with batteries” event. If you need to learn how to do first year 1120S returns, this is for you.

Andy will be doing a presentation on Why I love the “S” Corporation for the Solano/Napa EA Society Tuesday, January 22nd 2008 at 6 pm. More details will follow.

How to Prepare your Own Schedule C will be showing again at the US Small Business Administration offices in San Francisco at 455 Market Street, 6th Floor on February 25th, 6-8:30 pm. This is also a free seminar, and just in time to work on your own tax return before the due date.

Your Questions in Future Newsletters

Feel free to e-mail questions you’d like answered. If we think it is a topic of general interest, we’ll include the answer in upcoming newsletters! Next issue we’ll look at home equity lines of credit or the HELOC. If you have refinanced your Real Estate, you’ll want to know about this new area of audit focus. We’ll also look at a new from for ’07 the 8919 for squealers.