I grew up in the southeast Denver metro area, graduating from Cherry Creek High School in 1971. I attended Lubbock Christian College and later West Texas State University where I graduated with a BBA in Economics & Management in 1982. After a number of years working in a family owned sprinkler & landscape business, I went back to school and graduated from Regis University in Colorado Springs with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Magnum Cum Laude, in May 1992 and earned the Reverend Joseph A Ryan Excellence in Accounting Award.

I began my tax preparation career in Colorado Springs in 1992 and earned designation as an Enrolled Agent (EA) from the Internal Revenue Service in 1996. Being an EA requires me to maintain a comprehensive knowledge of the tax code through extensive continuing education. In November of 1996, I bought into an existing tax practice in Delta, on the Western Slope of Colorado. After 23 years in Delta, preparing over 400 returns per year, I sold most in of my practice in 2019 and moved back to the southeast Denver metro area. I continue serving a small number of clients with my expertise and personal knowledge of their unique tax situation.

   Matthew C. Lewis, EA

What is an EA?

I have often been asked about the meaning of the initials/credentials after my name. Enrolled agents (EAs) are America’s Tax Experts. “Enrolled” means to be licensed to practice by the federal government, and “agent” means authorized to appear in the place of the taxpayer before the IRS. Only enrolled agents, attorneys, and CPAs have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS. The enrolled agent profession dates back to 1884 when, after questionable claims had been presented for Civil War losses, Congress acted to regulate persons who represented citizens in their dealings with the U.S. Treasury Department. Enrolled Agents are the only federally licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxation and also have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS.

The primary way to become licensed as an EA is by passing a comprehensive examination which covers all aspects of the tax code. All candidates are subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the IRS.  In addition to the stringent testing and application process, the IRS requires enrolled agents to complete 72 hours of continuing education, reported every three years, to maintain their enrolled agent status. Because of the expertise necessary to become an enrolled agent and the requirements to maintain the license, there are less than 50,000 practicing enrolled agents.

Only enrolled agents are required to demonstrate (through testing) to the IRS their competence in all areas of taxation, representation and ethics before they are given unlimited representation rights before IRS. Unlike state licensed attorneys and CPAs, who may or may not specialize in taxation, all enrolled agents are income tax specialists. Enrolled agents are required to abide by all provisions of the Department of Treasury’s Circular 230, which provides the regulations governing the practice of enrolled agents before the IRS.