Enrolled Agents in American History

An Enrolled Agent’s professional designation is EA. Enrolled Agents are the only professionals who receive their license to practice directly from the IRS.

Many citizens had difficulty resolving claims with the government after the Civil War for horses and other property confiscated for use in the war effort. After numerous petitions and considerable pleading, Congress granted Enrolled Agents the power of advocacy in 1884, allowing them to draft claims against the government and seek equal justice for the general public. For many years, the Enrolled Agent’s role was to serve in this capacity.

When the income tax was introduced in 1913, the Enrolled Agent’s function was broadened to include monetary relief claims for residents whose taxes had become unfair. As the income tax, estate, gift, and other sources of tax collections grew more complicated, the Enrolled Agent’s duty expanded to encompass the production of the numerous tax forms required. As audits became increasingly common, their duty expanded to include taxpayer advocacy, which included negotiating with the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of their customers.

EAs banded together in 1972 to form a nationwide organization to advocate their needs and interests, as well as taxpayer rights. The National Association of Enrolled Agents is the name of the organization today. Enrolled Agents have successfully defended their ability to practice through their national association and state affiliates, as well as advancing the adoption of legislation and administrative rules that benefit both tax practitioners and regular taxpayers.