An enrolled agent is a professional tax practitioner, who is licensed to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service.
There are only two ways to earn the designation "Enrolled Agent". The IRS gives a very difficult two day exam covering all aspects of taxation, including procedures and ethics. Traditionally, fewer than one-third of all applicants pass the examination. The application process includes a thorough background investigation (full fingerprints and an FBI check)
This is how both Jim and I became Enrolled Agents.
The other way to become an enrolled agent is to have worked for the IRS for a minimum of five years.
All enrolled agents are required to complete 72 hours of continuing education every three years with a minimum of 16 in any given year.
For more about Enrolled Agents, look at the "DEAR ABBY ARTICLE"
Members of the National Association of Enrolled Agents and the California Association of Enrolled Agents. Members of these organizations are required to take a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education each year.
Paul Thode, Enrolled Agent
Paul is a graduate of The University of California, Berkeley with a degree in managerial economics.
He has a master's in accounting from Golden Gate University and an MBA in Finance from Golden Gate University.
He spent the first years of his career in the corporate world holding titles of Controller, VP and Chief Financial Officer.
In 1984 he started his own accounting firm in San Francisco doing consulting and accounting for small businesses.
Paul has taught accounting classes at Bangkok University, Heald College and the University of Phoenix.
James Marriner, Enrolled Agent
Jim has a Masters of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
He graduated from the H&R Block tax school and has taken additional classes in accounting at Diablo Valley Junior College.
He has been a professional tax preparer since 2002 and an enrolled agent since 2004.
He has worked for several CPA firms preparing taxes and done quality control work on tax preparation for one of them.
He has owned his own small business and is familiar with the problems facing them.