10 Tax Questions You Probably Don't Ask


5
Do I need a CPA or an enrolled agent?
Most people probably use a CPA, and may get financial planning advice as well as tax prep help. © TimArbaev/iStockphoto

This is another question with no right answer. Certified public accountants (CPAs) are the tax people many are most familiar with. They are licensed by the states and often have knowledge and education beyond tax preparation, including financial planning or bookkeeping.

Enrolled agents (EA) are federally certified in taxation and can represent taxpayers in front of the IRS. Many are former IRS agents and know the inner workings of that labyrinth. EAs must either pass an exam covering all areas of the tax code or have worked as an IRS agent in a position that regularly interpreted the tax code for five years or more.

Again, there is no right or wrong answer here. Choose a CPA or EA depending on your business or personal financial needs.