What is IRS Form 2848 Power of Attorney and When Is it Needed?

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IRS Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, authorizes an Enrolled Agent, CPA, or attorney to represent you before the IRS. You may need one if you want someone to help you resolve a tax problem or back taxes.

You can view the form on the IRS website.

What does Form 2848 do?

Form 2848 gives the Internal Revenue Service confirmation that you have asked a tax professional to represent you. It also tells the IRS what tax matters you have asked for help with.

Your power of attorney may list a specific problem, a specific year, a specific form, or a broad range of time. This helps to make clear exactly what the professional is helping you with. It also protects your personal information that isn’t needed for that representation.

How do you fill out Form 2848?

Form 2848 asks for basic information such as your name and tax identification number. It also lists the specific acts you’re authorizing the representative to take on your behalf. The IRS website has instruction for Form 2848 here.

Your Enrolled Agent, CPA, or tax attorney should provide you with a filled-out form. Make sure that what’s listed on your form matches your engagement letter and what you expect the tax professional to do. If you aren’t sure of what something means or why it’s there, ask questions before you sign.

You must use an original, handwritten signature for signing Form 2848. Because of the importance of this form, the IRS does not accept electronic signatures.

When is a Form 2848 needed?

A Form 2848 is commonly needed for a tax professional to:

  • Fill out certain tax forms.
  • Represent you in an audit.
  • Respond to IRS notices or letters.
  • Sign an agreement or to waive your rights to pursue a matter further.
  • Allow someone else to sign your tax return.

Note that unless you limit the scope of the power of attorney, your representative may take any of the above or other actions. This could include agreeing that you will pay money with no further option to challenge or appeal the IRS decision.

When is a Form 2848 not needed?

A Form 2848 is not needed in the following situations:

  • A Form 2848 is not needed to prepare your tax return assuming that you will review and sign it.
  • A representative may never sign or endorse your refund check or deposit it into their own account even with a power of attorney.
  • A Form 2848 is not needed if a tax professional helps you to write a response to the IRS that is sent under your name and signature, but they will not have the power to follow up with the IRS.
  • If you are present, such as at an audit in an IRS audit, you may give someone permission to represent you during that meeting without a signed power of attorney.

Can you use a different power of attorney form?

The IRS allows substitute power of attorney forms with strict requirements. A general power of attorney is not enough.

The substitute form must contain all of the information required on the IRS Form. Your representative must also attach a Form 2848 (without your signature) for IRS tracking purposes.

How to End a Power of Attorney

If your original power of attorney is limited in scope and time, it will automatically terminate once the stated purpose is completed. If you wish to change tax professionals or end it for a different reason, you may write “REVOKE” on a copy of the power of attorney form that you filed and mail or fax it to the IRS.

Need personal help? Click here for additional free resources or to find an accountant, attorney, or other professional near youRemember: This blog post and the comments provide generalized information that may be out of date or inaccurate for your situation. Always schedule a personal consultation with an appropriate licensed professional in your area before taking action. For full terms of use, click here.

Have general questions about this post or want to learn more about a related topic? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Comments are public, and I can’t provide individual advice, but it helps me make the posts more useful for the future. Please do not post personal information. If you need personal assistance, please contact the relevant government agency or hire an appropriate professional near you.

1 Comment on "What is IRS Form 2848 Power of Attorney and When Is it Needed?"

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