History of Enrolled Agents

The role of the enrolled agent in this country’s taxation system begins in the late 1800’s, and it closely parallels the evolution of our national history. Just after the Civil War, many citizens had problems settling claims with the government for horses and other property confiscated for use in the war effort. After many petitions and much pleading, Congress, in 1884, endowed enrolled agents with the power of advocacy to prepare claims against the government and seek equitable justice for the citizenry. For many years, the purpose of the enrolled agent was to act in this capacity. In 1913, when legislation enacting a national income tax was passed, the job of the enrolled agent was expanded to include claims for monetary relief for citizens whose taxes had become inequitable.

As the tax on income, estate, gift and other sources of tax collections became more complex, the role of the enrolled agent increased to include the preparation of the many and various tax forms that were required. Additionally, as audits became more prevalent, enrolled agents found their role changing once again, this time to that of taxpayer advocacy and negotiating with the IRS on behalf of their clients.

In 1972, EAs united to form a national association to represent the needs and interests of EAs and the rights of the American taxpayer. That association, the National Association of Enrolled Agents, has an even stronger continuing educational requirement than the federal government. Through NAEA and its state affiliates, the membership has furthered the professionalism of the discipline, and has successfully championed legislative and administrative rules that benefit the tax practitioner and the American taxpayer.

OSSEA Past Presidents

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