Does IRS care who's preparing taxes?
Yes. The IRS is increasing oversight of federal tax return preparers and laid out its general roadmap in Publication 4832, Return Preparer Review. The agency’s increased oversight is being phased in over several years and implemented through a variety of new regulations, which began with the requirement that paid tax return preparers obtain and use a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). IRS also requires some preparers of tax forms for individuals to demonstrate competency on returns they prepare and to take continuing professional education.
What is an enrolled agent?
An enrolled agent (EA) is a federally-authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels—examination, collection, and appeals—of the Internal Revenue Service. In addition to taxpayer representation, enrolled agents often provide tax consultation services and prepare a wide range of federal and state tax returns.
For more detail on how enrolled agents are regulated, Circular 230 provides the rules of practice for enrolled agents, certified public accountants and tax attorneys. The Return Preparer Office (RPO) provides oversight to the enrolled agent profession, including the testing and renewal of enrolled agents.