In formal transactions, private or government, there’s almost always a need to appear personally. However, sometimes instances don’t allow that, like when an individual is too incapacitated or is out of the country. In such situations, a power of attorney (POA) allows a designated representative to manage affairs in the individual’s stead.
Furthermore, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) manages POA representations in transactions, starting with filling out a document called Form 2848. While its formal name is ‘Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative,’ it’s by no means identical to a POA in legal parlance. Continue reading to learn more about the IRS form, when you need one, and how to accomplish it.
Power Of Attorney
Form 2848 consists of two parts. The first is the aptly named Power of Attorney, which provides for up to four authorized representatives, though only the first two can receive communications from the IRS. Each representative must also provide their Centralized Authorization File (CAF) Number and Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) on top of their contact information.
Further below, the taxpayer can specify the activities the representative can conduct under the POA. The most common of these include obtaining a taxpayer’s tax information and signing tax returns and other tax documents. If the representative needs to perform the latter, the form must specify the form numbers (e.g., Form 1040 for individual tax returns).
Moreover, the form allows taxpayers to specify activities that the representative isn’t authorized to do. This part is helpful if the individual doesn’t want their delegates to employ Intermediate Service Providers (third-party subscription services that help submit tax information), designate another representative, or disclose tax details to a third party.
Toward the last part, the individual can retain or revoke any POA filed before filing out the form. Revocation is as easy as checking the box but retaining entails attaching a copy of the POA.
Declaration Of Representative
The second part of Form 2848 outlines the nature of the representatives as designation letters A through R. Here’s a rundown on these eligible individuals or groups:
- A – Any attorney in good standing
- B – A certified public accountant with an active license
- C – Enrolled agent as required under Circular No. 230
- D – Officer in a taxpayer institution
- E – Full-time employee working for the taxpayer
- F – Immediate family member (eligible people specified below)
- G – Enrolled actuary as specified by the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries
- H – Unenrolled return preparer (though the IRS limits their authority)
- K – Student or law graduate working for a low-income taxpayer clinic (LITC) or under a student tax clinic program (STCP).
- R – Enrolled retirement plan agent as required under Circular No. 230
Designations A, B, C, G, H, K, and R must state their licensing jurisdiction and license number. For designations D and E, the representative must indicate their employer and official job title. The representative can specify their relation to the individual for designation F, which the IRS limits to a spouse, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, step-parent, or step-sibling.
Filing The Form
After filling out the form, you might think that the next step is as easy as dropping it off at the nearest IRS office. However, the IRS only authorizes three offices in the entire U.S. to accept Form 2848s. The first is in Memphis, Tennessee, which takes Form 2848s of taxpayers living in:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- Washington, D.C.
- West Virginia
The IRS office in Ogden, Utah, accepts Form 2848s of taxpayers residing in:
- North Dakota
- New Mexico
- South Dakota
Lastly, the IRS International in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the drop-off point for Form 2848s filed by taxpayers currently residing in:
- Domestic and overseas U.S. military installations (Army/Fleet Post Office addresses)
- S. overseas territories (Guam, Northern Marianas, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico)
- Another country or anywhere outside the U.S.
Making the long journey to any of these IRS offices to drop a Form 2848 is out of the question. Fortunately, the IRS accepts the submission of forms via mail or fax, granted the taxpayer has checked the box on Line 4 (Specific Use Not Recorded on the CAF). Otherwise, the taxpayer must sign up for a Secure Access account to submit the form online.
Form 2848 is different from a POA but works the same way. This document can help taxpayers settle their transactions with the IRS without the need to be present physically. Of course, the form can only legitimize so much, so make sure the representative uses its authority correctly.