FATP Defined








Federally Authorized Tax Practitioner (FATP)

Under the law, the term "federally authorized tax practitioner" (or FATP) means an individual authorized under Federal law to practice before the Internal Revenue Service where the practice is subject to Federal regulation under 31 U.S.C. § 330. 

  • Enrolled Agent (EA)

Enrolled agent is a person who has earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service by either passing a three-part comprehensive IRS test covering individual and business tax returns, or through experience as a former IRS employee. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards.

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Certified public accountants have completed a study in accounting at a college or university and also met experience and good character requirements established by their respective boards of accountancy. In addition, CPAs must comply with ethical requirements and complete specified levels of continuing education in order to maintain an active CPA license. CPAs may offer a range of services; some CPAs specialize in tax preparation and planning.

  • Attorney (Engaged in Federal Tax Practice)

Attorneys have earned a degree in law and passed a bar exam. Attorneys generally have on-going continuing education and professional character standards. Attorneys may offer a range of services; some attorneys specialize in tax preparation and planning.

  • PTINs

A tax professional with a IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) is authorized to prepare federal tax returns for you. However, tax professional differ by level of skills, education, and expertise. An important difference in the type of tax professionals is “representation rights”. Representation rights can be:

  • Unlimited Representation Rights

Enrolled agents (EA), certified public accountants (CPA), and attorneys (ATTY) have unlimited representation rights before the IRS. Tax professionals with these credentials may represent their clients on any matters including audits, payment/collection issues, and appeals.

  • Limited Representation Rights

Preparers without credentials as mentioned above have limited practice rights. They may only represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service. They cannot represent clients whose returns they did not prepare and they cannot represent clients regarding appeals or collection issues even if they did prepare the return in question.


*This information is posted as a public service Courtesy of Taxrpro.com