To facilitate communication and satisfy legal requirements (in the U.S.), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confers the status of enrolled agent to individuals able to meet the education and testing requirements. People certified as an enrolled agent may then act as an intermediary for citizens and private businesses when interacting with the IRS on tax matters, questions, and disputes. Businesses that specialize in preparing tax returns or handling income tax resolution are the typical employers of enrolled agents.
While many employees of tax preparation companies and related businesses are employed seasonally, enrolled agents typically work year round to assist clients. The agent works with private clients and customers on taxation issues, helping to formulate a strategy for dealing with the IRS. The agent then represents these clients with the IRS, helping reach satisfactory estimations, payments, plans, and settlements. Given the complex nature of some of these procedures and settlements, the position is typically in demand throughout the year.
Many of the hearings and sessions that an agent participates in take place by phone; as such, the enrolled agent must possess outstanding communication skills. The position also requires a thorough understanding of the complex documentation required by the IRS, and the agent must be familiar with this paperwork. They also be well organized to meet extension, filing, and report deadlines.
To work in this field, a person must receive enrolled agent certification from the IRS in the United States. While the education requirements for this certification process may be quite broad, a strong educational background in public accounting and practical experience in tax preparation are the normal background for enrolled agents.