When it comes to deciding who should prepare your taxes, the different designations can sometimes be confusing. The major 3 options are Enrolled Agent, Tax Attorney and CPA.
- An Enrolled Agent is usually a full-time tax advisor and tax preparer licensed to practice before the IRS. They earn the designation by either passing an IRS exam or having at least five years’ experience working for the IRS.
- Tax attorneys are lawyers who various types of tax related work. Look for a tax attorney with either a special tax law degree or certification as a tax law specialist from a state bar association. If a great deal of money is at stake, the IRS is accusing you of committing fraud, or you’re headed to court, call a tax attorney.
- CPA’s are licensed and regulated in all states. They do sophisticated accounting and internal audit work, and prepare tax return. To become a CPA, an accountant must have a college degree, experience with a CPA firm, and must pass a rigorous examination. Some CPAs have a great deal of IRS experience, but some don’t ever deal with the IRS.