More than 100 enrolled agents from nearly 40 states met with lawmakers in Congress Wednesday to discuss some of the main issues affecting taxpayers and practitioners in an annual event organized by the National Association of Enrolled Agents.

The American Institute of CPAs is planning its own lobbying effort by CPAs next Tuesday following its Spring Meeting of Council in Washington, D.C.

At the NAEA’s ninth annual Fly-in Day this week, the enrolled agents plan to encourage lawmakers and the Internal Revenue Service to make sure the IRS’s modernization efforts include creating online accounts for qualified tax professionals, along with support for real-time electronic signatures to allow direct communication with IRS employees and to streamline the e-file process.

The National Association of Enrolled Agents' Florida delegation visits the Capitol
The National Association of Enrolled Agents' Florida delegation visits the Capitol Courtesy of the NAEA

During the planned meetings, enrolled agents also intend to speak out three main issues: tax reform, the IRS Future State vision, and establishing minimum standards for tax preparers.

“Your barber or hairstylist is required to pass a licensing exam yet the person you hire to prepare your tax return is under no legal obligation at present, to demonstrate even basic proficiency,” said NAEA executive vice president Cedric Calhoun in a statement. “Unlike other tax preparers, enrolled agents must pass a stringent licensing exam to demonstrate their competence in all areas of taxation, representation and ethics and maintain their knowledge through continuing education.”

NAEA members will be meeting with their state representatives and senators, along with members of tax-writing committees like the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. They will end the day attending a celebratory reception with Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., a member of the Ways and Means Committee.

The NAEA recently joined with several other accountant and tax practitioner groups, including the AICPA, the National Society of Accountants, the National Association of Tax Professionals, the National Conference of CPA Practitioners, and the National Society of Tax Professionals, along with the firms Crowe Horwath, alliantgroup and Padget Business Services, on a joint April report to the IRS, “Ensuring a Modern-Functioning IRS for the 21st Century.”

“While I admire IRS efforts to build a responsive 21st century tax administration system, those efforts must incorporate the needs of both taxpayers and tax professionals,” said NAEA associate director of government relations Justin Edwards in a statement.

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.