All Pros on the NexGen Tax Platform are Certified and have a valid PTIN number. Tax professionals with an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) are authorized to prepare federal tax returns. However, tax professionals have differing skills, education, and expertise.
An essential difference in the types of practitioners is “representation rights.” Here is guidance on each credential and qualification:
Unlimited Representation Rights: Enrolled agents, CPAs (Certified Public Accountants), and Tax Attorneys have unlimited representation rights before the IRS. Tax professionals with these credentials may represent clients on audits, payment/collection issues, and appeals.
- Enrolled Agents – Licensed by the IRS. Enrolled agents are subject to a suitability check. They must clear a three-part Special Enrollment Examination, a comprehensive exam requiring them to demonstrate proficiency in federal tax planning, individual and business tax return preparation, and representation. They must complete 72 hours of continuing education every three years. Learn more about the Enrolled Agent Program.
- Certified Public Accountants – licensed by state boards of accountancy, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Certified Public Accountants have passed the Uniform CPA Examination. They have completed a study in accounting at a college or university and also met experience and good character requirements established by their respective boards of accountancy. In addition, CPAs must comply with ethical requirements and complete specified levels of continuing education to maintain an active CPA license. CPAs may offer a range of services; some CPAs specialize in tax preparation and planning.
- Attorneys – Licensed by state courts, the District of Columbia, or their designees, such as the state bar. Generally, they have earned a law degree and passed a bar exam. Attorneys generally have ongoing continuing education and professional character standards. Attorneys may offer various services; some specialize in tax preparation and planning.