The Benefits of Using a CPA


When the time comes to file your taxes, who should you trust? It’s an important question with different answers depending on your situation. There are some key differences between a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), an EA (Enrolled Agent), and a RTRP (Registered Tax Return Preparer). 

There was a time in the past where anyone could be a tax return preparer. Anyone! 

Imagine the headaches the IRS had to deal with due to unqualified people preparing personal and business tax returns. About 7 years ago, the IRS created the RTRP program along with testing to put checks and balances in place ensuring some level of qualification was achieved. Pass the test, become a Registered Tax Return Preparer. 

Problem solved, right?   Nope.

The IRS didn’t make the test to become a RTRP very difficult. Otherwise, not as many people would pass, causing tax return preparers to become former tax return preparers!

They have since added additional requirements, but the reality is, the qualifications are just nowhere near a CPA, or even an Enrolled Agent.  To add insult to injury, the RTRP designation was found to be “too detrimental” to unqualified tax preparers so it is no longer required.  What used to be a quick and easy test for these folks changed in 2015 to allow anyone to file your tax return with no qualifications at all – basically, unqualified tax preparers are now able to prepare tax returns.

Enrolled Agents are required to pass a comprehensive 3-part Special Enrollment Examination covering both individual tax return and business tax returns. They must also complete 72 hours of continuing education classes every three years. 

A four-year degree isn’t even required to become an Enrolled Agent!

While an EA’s qualifications are more than the minimal requirements to become a RTRP, using an EA for your taxes still may not be the best option for you or your business.

Great Lakes Accounting is proud to be a firm with CPAs as part of our full-time team.

The qualifications of a CPA are much greater than both an EA or RTRP. We have unlimited practice rights and undergo rigorous annual continuing education to ensure that our skill set matches the needs of our clients and the broader community.

The benefit of using a CPA to file your tax return versus an EA or a RTRP is further demonstrated by the fact that we are completely unrestricted as to what type of tax matters we can handle, which IRS offices we can work with, and which taxpayers we can represent.

This freedom allows us to handle any level of accounting or tax services.

The CPAs at Great Lakes Accounting not only went to school to become experts in all matters of taxes and accounting, but we do it every day for a living.

We are not using RTRPs or unenrolled tax return preparers and putting our name on it as some firms do.

Risking our reputation just isn’t worth it.

That’s the difference.

Could you or your business benefit by using a qualified CPA from Great Lakes Accounting to file your taxes? 

Contact us today and we can help you decide