Form 2848: Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative

Form 2848– "Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative," is an official document issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that allows you, the taxpayer, to designate a representative to act on your behalf in all matters concerning your federal taxes. This representative can be a tax professional such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), an enrolled agent, or an attorney.

What is the Purpose of Form 2848?

Filing Form 2848 grants your representative specific powers to handle your tax affairs with the IRS. These powers can include:

Receiving and Inspecting Confidential Tax Information: The IRS considers your tax information confidential. By filing Form 2848, you allow your representative to access this information to represent you effectively.

Performing Actions You Can Perform: This includes signing agreements, consents, and similar documents related to the tax matters specified on the form. In limited situations (e.g., illness, extended travel), your representative can even sign your tax return.

Representing You in Audits and Appeals: If the IRS audits your tax return or you disagree with an IRS decision, your representative can advocate for you throughout the process.

Who Can Be Your Representative?

The IRS allows you to appoint a variety of qualified individuals as your representative using Form 2848. Here are some of the most common:

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs): These professionals hold a valid CPA license and have the expertise to handle complex tax matters.

Enrolled Agents (EAs): EAs are federally-authorized tax practitioners who specialize in representing taxpayers before the IRS.

Attorneys: Attorneys with experience in tax law can represent you in IRS audits, appeals, and other legal proceedings.

What Can Your Representative Do?

The extent of your representative's authority is defined on Form 2848. Here are key actions they can perform:

Access Confidential Tax Information: Your representative can receive and review confidential tax documents related to the matters specified on the form.

Perform Tax-Related Actions: This includes filing specific tax returns, signing agreements, and representing you during IRS audits. (Limited exceptions apply for signing tax returns; see below)

Represent You in IRS Proceedings: Your representative can handle appeals, respond to IRS inquiries, and negotiate on your behalf.

Do I need to file Form 2848?

Filing Form 2848 is not mandatory but is highly recommended if you need someone to represent you in dealing with the IRS. This could be for various reasons, such as an ongoing tax audit, complex tax filing requirements, or an inability to appear before the IRS in person.

How long is Form 2848 valid?

A Form 2848 typically remains valid for five years from the date you sign it. However, you can revoke the authorization at any time by filing a new Form 2848 specifically revoking the previous one.

What happens if I file a joint tax return?

If you file a joint tax return, each spouse needs to complete and sign a separate Form 2848, even if they are appointing the same representative.