IRS should provide the public INSTANT ACCESS to a database of Enrolled Agents license verification listings for protection of the public. Right now, only membership organizations are making their members information available (and there might be no assurance or verification of those members as being bona fide government registrants). Currently, the IRS will provide taxpayers with a list of current Enrolled Actuaries: ( http://www.irs.gov/PUP/taxpros/Active%20EA% 20Roster.pdf ) Why not do the same with Enrolled Agents with an active internet lookup?

Right now, a citizen interested in verifying the status of their tax preparer or tax practitioner as having Enrolled Agent status is forced to (1) know that verification is needed in advance, (2) send a check for $35 to the IRS, (3) wait weeks (months?) for the disk to arrive, (4) insure that the taxpayer has a working Excel program, and (5) look it up after receiving the disk. [ SEE: (http://www.irs.gov/uac/Active-Enrolled-Agents-Listing )]

Unless the public has a free lookup database that is referred to so often that it becomes second nature to verify, then verification is not going to happen often enough to be effective. This comment is made in September 2014, long after the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has had a maintained list of Patent Attorneys and Agents (https://oedci.uspto.gov/OEDCI/); long after the vast majority of all state bars have lookup portals for their state bar members including license #, and history [Examples: California(http://www.calbar.ca.gov/ and Texas(http://www.texasbar.com/)] Most state CPA databases allow lookup of licensees [Example, California (http://www2.dca.ca.gov/pls/wllpub/wllqryna$lcev2.startup?p_qte_code=PA&p_qte_pgm_code=0300 )].

Doesn't the IRS WANT people to quickly and easily verify their tax practitioner as having an Enrolled Agent License? Don't individual Enrolled Agents want themselves to be "OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED" and found? Doesn't IRS BELIEVE that vetted enrolled agents do a better job assisting taxpayers than perhaps someone that may "newly arrived" in the U.S. and that may KNOW NOTHING about U.S. tax law, and want taxpayers to be able to verify? Wouldn't it BENEFIT Enrolled Agents to have a direct link from their web page to their official IRS Enrolled Agent record page for an "instant" verification of their more competent status? Shouldn't smart legislators who want to see an efficient IRS resulting from a more easily identifiable / verifiable pool of tax practitioners want to make certain that such a database is made available to the public right away? Lastly, shouldn't Enrolled Agents DEMAND such an instantly accessible database in order to better protect the public?

Having been a part of the California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) for 8 years (currently chair), I understand that without some ability to communicate and verify the expertise of a specialist, the public protection value of being specialized is diminished. Without the ability for public verification, anyone can claim to be an Enrolled Agent long enough to mislead a client. A public INSTANT ACCESS to a database of Enrolled Agents license verification listings is need to prevent fraud and enable taxpayers to verify that they are in fact about to retain a more competent tax practitioner. Follow me on Twitter: @PATENTAX