In the intricate dance of tax filing, certain steps can easily go overlooked. One such overlooked step is the empowering leap of IRS Form 2848, a piece of documentation that could make a world of difference in how you navigate your tax journey. Form 2848, otherwise known as the “Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative” form, isn’t your everyday tax form.
It plays an essential role in managing complex tax matters, acting as the key to unlocking the assistance of a knowledgeable tax professional. Just as a conductor orchestrates a symphony, this form orchestrates how your taxes are handled when you’re not the one wielding the baton.
Form 2848 from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the form to use if someone will represent on your behalf to the IRS. This form is officially called Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. You can learn more about Power of Attorney in our detailed guide.
There may be a few reasons why someone would represent on your behalf to the IRS:
- To help set up a payment plan for any taxes due
- To sign documents for you
- To represent you during an audit
- To represent you if you have a dispute with the IRS
- To respond to tax notices that you have received
- To access IRS tax transcripts for you
Sometimes, the person representing you to the IRS will be an immediate family member. Professionals who may represent you include attorneys, accountants, tax preparers, and retirement plan agents, for instance.
Form 2848 from the IRS is similar to, but not the same as a more general power of attorney form. Form 2848 is specifically for someone to represent you to the IRS, while other power of attorney forms designate someone to represent you for real estate, finance, and other reasons.
How to Fill Out Form 2848
Any type of governmental paperwork can be a little confusing, and Form 2848 is no exception to this. That’s why we have a step-by-step guide here on how to fill out Form 2848.
For most people who are filing as individuals, you will enter your name, address, Social Security number, and phone number on Line 1.
Tip: Even if you are married and file your taxes jointly, each spouse/partner must file a separate Form 2848.
If you are completing Form 2848 as a business, list the business name, address, and Taxpayer Identification number.
List the name and address of the person (or persons) who you want to be your representative. Double check their name spelling and address before providing it on the form. If you want your representative to receive a copy of all correspondence you get from the IRS, check the box below the name and address area. On the form, you can list more information for more than one representative.
You can ask your representative if they have a CAF number and write it in the area that says “CAF Number.”. This is a number the IRS issues the first time someone serves as a third-party representative. If they do not have a CAF number, write “none.”
Find out your representative’s PTIN number, and write it where it says “PTIN.” This is a special ID number issued to tax preparers.
Add the representative’s phone and/or fax number.
If the representative has a new address or phone number since receiving their CAF number, check the box that says address, phone number, or fax number at the bottom.
Line 3 allows you to indicate what tax matters the representative can handle for you, the specific tax form, and for what years. For example, this section may say, “Income, 1040, 2020.” For the third column indicating the tax period, you can also list quarters and years (for example, second quarter 2020, third quarter 2020). The latter would apply more to businesses.
You can also list future tax time periods.
There may be times where listing a specific tax time period does not apply. In this case, write a brief description of what you are looking for and then write “NA” where it asks for the specific time period.
Line 4 is a check-off box related to the CAF number that representatives receive. You will check this box only if the reason for needing a representative is beyond the usual reasons someone is needed. This may include:
- Requests for a private letter ruling
- Corporate dissolutions
- Requests to change accounting methods or accounting periods
- Freedom of information act requests
While most people completing Form 2848 will not need to check Line 4, you can always double check with your tax preparer if you should check it.
This area gives you the chance to provide additional authorizations to your representative. This may include substituting or adding additional representatives, signing a return, or accessing your IRS records via an intermediate service provider. Intermediate service providers are third-party companies not affiliated with the IRS that can provide access to tax information.
On Line 5b, you will list any acts you do not want your representative to complete on your behalf.
You may have filed Form 2848 previously to give someone else power of attorney for certain tax needs in the past. If you want the IRS to continue to allow power of attorney for this previous representative, then check the box in line 6. You also must include a copy of the previous power of attorney form used.
Sign and date the form on line 7. Add your title if needed.
Declaration of Representative: This is where the person representing you will fill out certain information. This includes information on their professional title, bar or license number, name, signature, and date.
For more detailed information on how to complete Form 2848, you can refer to the instructions from the IRS, available at the link here.
How to Choose a Qualified Representative
When choosing a representative to file Form 2848 on your behalf, it is important to choose someone who is qualified and experienced in handling tax matters. Here are some factors to consider when making your selection:
- Education and experience: The representative should have a strong understanding of the IRS tax code and regulations. They should also have experience representing taxpayers before the IRS.
- Professionalism: The representative should be professional and ethical in their dealings with the IRS. They should also be able to communicate effectively with you and keep you updated on the status of your case.
- Availability: The representative should be available to answer your questions and help you with your tax matters. They should also be able to respond to the IRS in a timely manner.
Once you have chosen a qualified representative, be sure to provide them with all of the relevant information about your tax situation. This will help them to represent you effectively before the IRS.
Here are some resources that you can use to find a qualified representative:
- The National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA): The NAEA is a professional organization for enrolled agents, who are tax professionals who have passed a rigorous examination and are authorized to represent taxpayers before the IRS.
- The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA): The AICPA is a professional organization for certified public accountants, who are licensed accountants who have met certain education, experience, and ethics requirements.
- Your state’s bar association: Your state’s bar association may have a list of attorneys who specialize in tax law.
The Benefits of Using Form 2848
Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, can offer a number of benefits to taxpayers, including:
- Peace of mind: By giving someone else power of attorney, you can rest assured that your tax matters are in good hands. This is especially important if you are facing a tax audit or other complex tax issue.
- Convenience: Form 2848 allows you to authorize someone else to handle all of your tax-related tasks, such as filing returns, responding to correspondence, and representing you before the IRS. This can save you time and hassle.
- Expertise: If you choose a qualified representative, they will have the expertise and experience to help you navigate the complex world of taxation. This can be especially helpful if you are not familiar with the IRS tax code or regulations.
- Access to information: Form 2848 allows your representative to access your IRS tax information, which can be helpful in resolving tax issues.
- Time savings: Having your representative sign your tax returns can save you time and hassle.
- Stress relief: Having your representative represent you at an IRS audit can relieve you of the stress and intimidation of dealing with the IRS on your own.
- Transcript access: Having your representative access your IRS tax transcripts can be helpful in resolving tax issues.
If you are considering using Form 2848, be sure to weigh the benefits and drawbacks carefully. However, for many taxpayers, the benefits of using this form far outweigh the drawbacks.