IRS Power of Attorney: Tax Form 2848 Filing Instructions & Details
If you are dealing with Federal tax matters, you may decide to represent yourself or have another person do it for you. To have another person act on your behalf, you must choose someone who is authorized to practice before the IRS. You can name an individual or individuals to work on your behalf through IRS form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative.
Why You Would Use an IRS Power of Attorney
For the most part, taxpayers need an IRS Power of Attorney under two circumstances:
- If you want someone else to represent you during a meeting with the IRS and handle the tax situation on your behalf
- If you want someone else to prepare a written response to the IRS, or fill out documents on your behalf
You do not need an IRS Power of Attorney if you have someone else filing an annual income tax return for you, but any of the more complex situations with the IRS will require it – like owing back taxes.
Who Can Represent You Legally?
You can’t just appoint your mom for representing you in federal tax matters in front of the IRS (unless your mom also happens to be one of the following qualified individuals):
- Student Attorney
- Student CPA
- Enrolled agents
- Enrolled actuaries
- Enrolled retirement plan agents
How to Authorize an IRS Power of Attorney
When you decide to authorize someone else to act on your behalf before the IRS, you will need to follow proper procedures. You need to fill out IRS Form 2848 to allow another qualified individual to represent you and to receive your confidential tax information. You can fax or mail the form to the IRS, or your authorized individual can file the form electronically with the IRS for you.
Starting in July 2021, the IRS launched a Tax Pro Account on IRS.gov which allows tax professionals to initiate third-party authorization requests. If a tax professional initiates a POA, they can use a checkbox as an electronic signature. The POA request automatically transfers to the individual taxpayer's Online Account. Taxpayer then from the "Authorization" tab can electronically sign and approve the request. Upon approval, the authorization is automatically submitted to the CAF. However, taxpayers must register for secure access or have been already registered.
How an IRS Power of Attorney Works For You
Once a qualified individual has been authorized by the IRS to represent you, they will be in contact with the IRS on any tax-related matters you have. If the authorized individual doesn’t respond to the IRS promptly, the IRS will contact you directly for resolution. An IRS Power of Attorney can handle the following situations for you:
- Receive and respond to any confidential IRS tax information sent to you
- Represent you in legal matters with the IRS and tax situations you have
- Set up a tax settlement or payment agreement for you to pay back taxes to the IRS
- Sign personal tax return documents for you
- Receive money issued to you from the IRS for tax refunds (but cannot cash or otherwise use the money)
- Execute closing agreements
What If You Just Want to Share Tax Info?
If you just want to authorize someone to access your tax details, you don't need to grant them Power of Attorney privileges. Instead, you can use Form 8821 (Tax Information Authorization) to give them permission to obtain information from the IRS. For instance, you may use this form to authorize a tax pro, a creditor, or multiple other types of entities to receive tax information about you.
If you are having tax problems and need to authorize an IRS Power of Attorney for tax representation, reach out to a licensed tax professional with experience in resolving IRS tax problems.