Derren is an EA (Enrolled Agent) and has been admitted to practice before the IRS. He has 2 Masters Degrees in Economics, a Certified Diploma from ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in the UK), done Executive Education with Columbia Business School, and has completed Advanced Tax coursework at both New York University and the University of London.
He enjoys writing and giving seminars. He had his views published in the Singapore Business Review, Forbes Asia, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia, the International Business Structuring Association (in the UK), Offshore Alert, and the (Trinidad) Guardian. And has given seminars on tax issues in the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, The Philippines, Portugal, Hong Kong, UAE, and the Caribbean.
When hiring a professional to prepare your expat tax return, it is important to find the most appropriate person for the job at the best price. There are Enrolled Agents, tax attorneys and CPAs. Before deciding who would be the best person to hire to help prepare your tax return you should know the difference.
In short, a certified public accountant (CPA) is an expert in accounting. Tax matters are one of many specialties of CPAs. An enrolled agent (EA) is a tax practitioner who is authorized by the federal government. EAs are specifically skilled tax experts who are empowered to represent clients before the IRS and can handle matters concerning collections, appeals and audits. A tax attorney, as the name implies, is a tax law specialist and can represent a client in a court of law. It should not be assumed, though, that a tax attorney deals with the IRS, as this is not always the case.
If you find yourself in a difficult tax situation, and you feel you might be headed to court, the person to hire is a tax attorney. Enrolled agents can represent you before the IRS, but only an attorney can represent you in court.
Enrolled Agents are the only tax professionals who get their license to practice directly from the IRS and the United States Treasury.
There are two paths to becoming an EA.
1. After working for the IRS for five years, an agent can become an EA without passing an examination.
2. Without working for the IRS, one must pass a thorough background check and a three part exam.
Enrolled agents specialize in the tax code and tax matters. An EA must know all of the ins and outs of income tax, gift tax, inheritance tax, estate tax, and payroll tax. The continuing professional education required for an EA is seventy-two hours every three years. A CPA’s continuing education will cover a wide range of accounting and tax matters, but an EA’s education will focus solely on taxation.
An EA tends to have more expertise in tax matters than a CPA. EAs are the only federally authorized tax professionals licensed to practice across all 50 states. The IRS itself recognizes EAs as tax experts.