From the Archives: Yes, Enrolled Agents Do Need More Respect

ID-10036376It’s a holiday week, so I’m re-publishing popular posts from the past.

I was apparently in an angry, bitter mood when I wrote this one back in 2013 about the lack of respect EAs get. The post is certainly a righteous rant!

In the 3 1/2 years since this post was written, I actually think EAs have made gains. For example, the EA Credentials Act referenced in the post was passed in late 2015, so now EAs can use the abbreviation “EA” without being hassled by busybodies.


Originally published July 8th, 2013

On June 26, Peter Reilly, a CPA who writes for Forbes, wrote a piece called “Enrolled Agents Deserve More Respect.”

All I can say is, AMEN!

I’m an Enrolled Agent and I am tired of being treated like a red-headed stepchild.

I’m tired of having people call me a “CPA.”

I’m tired of feeling the need to apologize for not being a CPA.

I’m tired of feeling like I’m automatically inferior because I’m not a CPA.

I’m tired of people telling me that I’ll never make it in the business as “just” an EA. (Yes, I’ve been told that before — the exact quote was “If you want to make it in this business, you’ve gotta get the CPA.”) (And yes, I do have an “LPA” designation, but in terms of public recognition, I can tell you that an LPA ain’t a CPA.)

I’m tired of reading about how EAs in some states are forbidden from calling themselves an EA because of ridiculous laws designed to protect CPAs in that state.

Seriously, in a few states (according to the Forbes article, those states are Georgia, New York, North Carolina and Ohio), EAs are forbidden from calling themselves an EA. The laws of course apply to all “non-CPAs,” but EAs are affected in that they can’t call themselves an EA in those states.

There’s actually a piece of legislation called the “Enrolled Agents Credentials Act” proposed in Congress that would clarify that EAs can call themselves EAs, no matter where they are.

The fact that such legislation even has to be proposed is shocking.

No, gosh-darn it. It’s OFFENSIVE.

Granted, how many EAs in Georgia, New York, North Carolina or Ohio have ever been busted for calling themselves an EA? I have no idea. Probably not too many (readers: feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on this assumption). But it’s still a slap in the face to all EAs that such laws even exist with no exception for federally licensed practitioners who have equal practice rights to CPAs in the tax world.

The EA designation has existed since 1884. Why are we still fighting for respect after 129 years?

What does it take to get respect after 129 years?