It’s tax season and you’re facing a mountain of receipts, W-2s, 1099s, or any number of complicated tax materials. You decide to hire a professional, but even that’s not as simple as it seems! Most people in more complicated tax situations will end up having to choose between an Enrolled Agent (EA) or a CPA. While both will have solid credentials, the details of your situation will determine which one is best for you.
What is an Enrolled Agent?
EAs are individuals that have earned the highest certification the IRS can award to tax preparers after passing a qualifying exam. On average, they make at least $15,000 more annually than CPAs in Mesa, AZ and they’re the people the IRS suggests for handling most–if not all–significant tax issues.
The IRS highly values the skills of EAs, calling them uncontested experts on tax-related issues. Because of this, they typically represent businesses or private entities facing audits, tax collection, or appeals, even though they have a wide range of knowledge, including such tax-related subjects as:
- Non-profit taxes, and more.
What is a CPA?
CPAs in Mesa, AZ must acquire rigorous education and training in order to be licensed, on top of passing the Uniform CPA exam and taking continuing education courses required of all Mesa CPAs. While EA’s do have a wide range of tax-related knowledge, CPAs tend to have a more expansive and flexible repertoire since they don’t specialize in one area of accounting.
These state-approved tax preparers can help individuals, businesses, and others in all tax, accounting, and financial situations. They provide financial planning and money management services as well, so if you’re looking for a tax professional that will take a more holistic approach to your finances, a CPA is the right choice for you.
How are the Two Different?
There are some basic differences between an EA and a CPA. EAs are recognized by the government, while CPAs must be approved by the state, CPAs must acquire a university education and pass the four part CPA exam, while EAs must have five years of IRS experience and pass the Special Enrollment Examination.
CPAs study tax issues, financial planning, and auditing, and EAs focus more on individual and business tax laws, representation issues, tax preparation, and very little accounting.
Which one you choose depends on the tax issue you’re facing. An EA is great in situations that require niche knowledge on tax issues, but CPAs have a much wider range of expertise–and they’re qualified to do the same work as an EA. If you have issues related to audits, accounting, and/or financial planning, a CPA in Mesa, AZmay be the best bet for you.
Taxes are complicated, and any mistake can carry serious consequences without the help of a professional. Without a doubt, enlisting the help of a tax professional will make your tax situation a more streamlined, positive experience.
It is important that you are proactive in choosing your tax professional. If you’d like to find out if an EA is the best fit for you, contact a member of our team today.