By John Kitts, CityScoop Staff Writer




If you’re in Castro Valley or the East Bay Area and you’re looking for a CPA then you might want to put on the brakes and chill for a sec.  It’s time for a little tax planning education.  Break out the bubbles and the party hats!  This is going to be a FUN article.  F-U-N.

Just kidding.  But I bet there are a lot of people who don’t know the difference between a CPA and an EA.  And if you’re a business owner, especially if you’re a small business owner, you might be able to save some cash.  Here’s what I mean…

EA – Enrolled Agent

An Enrolled Agent is a professional recognition by the US Government that allows EAs to represent tax payers when dealing with the IRS.  An enrolled agent can help you file your business’s taxes.  You are not allowed to file your business taxes yourself.  You need a signature from someone who is an EA or CPA.

CPA – Certified Public Accountant

A Certified Public Accountant is a professional designation that allows the professional to deal with many different aspects of financial services, primarily financial audit services.  CPAs look deep into the financial equation, evaluate numbers, create projections and try to provide an overall picture, forecast and recommendations based on internal and historical data. 

Here’s the differnce…

If you are like me and have an LLC then you need to have a CPA or an EA file for you.  CPAs typically charge more per hour than EAs.  If you don’t need a CPA because you just need to file taxes then you can just hire an EA and save some coin.  And sometimes an EA can be more qualified than a CPA because EAs focus solely on tax related issues.  The CPA profession encompasses more and is sometimes better used in different situations.

So the way I see it is, “you use the big guns for the big wars and you use the smaller guns for everything else.”  This year when I needed to file taxes for my business, I used an EA. 

For me, it just made cents.