Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Congressman Charles Boustany, R-La., have re-introduced a bill in Congress aimed at enabling Enrolled Agents to advertise their credential in more states.

The bill, known as the Enrolled Agents Credential Act, is designed to ensure that individuals, families, and businesses across the country are able to identify and access trained specialists to assist them in filing their taxes.

Enrolled Agents are tax specialists certified by the Treasury Department who have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service.

However, despite being an exclusively federal credential, some states prohibit Enrolled Agents from using their credential when representing taxpayers or advertising for potential clients. The bill would clarify that Enrolled Agents may use and display their credential when advertising their services and representing their clients. Portman and Boustany introduced similar legislation in 2013.

"The IRS estimates Americans spend 6.6 billion hours per year filling out tax forms,” Portman said in a statement. “The least the federal government can do is ensure that consumers have all the information available when choosing who to trust with their financial security—and that's exactly what this commonsense measure does.”

“Enrolled Agents use their considerable expertise to help taxpayers navigate our overcomplicated tax code—but some states don't recognize their federal certification," said Boustany. “As Tax Day approaches, this bill is a commonsense reform at no cost to the taxpayer that will give these advocates their rightful recognition while Congress works on full tax reform.”

California is one of the few states to have set requirements for professional tax preparers. State law requires anyone who prepares tax returns for a fee to be either an Enrolled Agent, an attorney, a CPA or a tax preparer registered with the California Tax Education Council.

“There is a lot of confusion surrounding how to best file your taxes this year, in light of so many changing tax rules,” said Patricia Kappen, president of the California Society of Enrolled Agents. “With all the tax changes taking place in Congress and the state Legislature, it is more critical than ever to have a qualified tax specialist on your side when preparing your tax and financial strategy.”

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