||2001 Tax Year
Authorizing a Representative
This is archived information that pertains only to the 2001 Tax Year. If you
are looking for information for the current tax year, go to the Tax Prep Help Area.
You may either represent yourself, or you may grant an individual
power of attorney (legal authority) to represent you before
the IRS. Your representative must be a person allowed to practice
before the IRS. See Who Can Practice Before the IRS,
What Is a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is your written authorization for an individual
to act for you in tax matters. If the authorization is not limited,
the individual can generally perform all acts that you can perform.
The authority granted to an unenrolled preparer cannot exceed that
allowed under the special rules of limited practice described in
Any representative, other than an unenrolled preparer, can usually
perform the following acts.
- Represent you before any office of the IRS.
- Record the interview.
- Sign an offer or a waiver of restriction on assessment or
collection of a tax deficiency, or a waiver of notice of disallowance
of claim for credit or refund.
- Sign a consent to extend the statutory time period for
assessment or collection of a tax.
- Sign a closing agreement.
- Receive, but not endorse or cash, a refund check
drawn on the U.S. Treasury. You must specifically initial Form 2848
(see Form Required, later) showing the name of the
individual designated to receive the refund check.
Signing your return.
The representative named under a power of attorney is not
permitted to sign your personal income tax return unless:
- The signature is permitted under the Internal Revenue Code
and the related regulations (see section 1.6012-1(a)(5) of the Income
Tax Regulations), and
- You authorize this in your power of attorney.
For example, the regulation permits a representative to sign
your return if you are unable to make the return for any of the
- Disease or injury.
- Continuous absence from the United States (including Puerto
Rico) for a period of at least 60 days prior to the date required by
law for filing the return.
- Other good cause if specific permission is requested of and
granted by the district director.
For more information, see the Form 2848 instructions.
Endorsing or cashing your refund check.
If you want your representative to receive a refund check on your
behalf, you must specifically authorize this in your power of attorney
as discussed earlier in item 6 under Acts performed.
However, if your representative is an income tax return preparer, he
or she cannot be authorized to endorse or otherwise cash your check
related to income taxes. If you want someone else to endorse or cash
that check, follow the rules in Treasury Department Circular No. 21,
as amended, 31 CFR part 240.
Limitation on substitution or delegation.
The appointed representative can substitute a representative or
delegate authority to a new representative only if the act
is specifically authorized under the power of attorney.
Incapacity or incompetency.
A power of attorney is generally terminated if you
become incapacitated or incompetent.
The power of attorney can continue, however, in the case of your
incapacity or incompetency if you authorize this on the Form 2848, or
if your non-IRS durable power of attorney meets all the requirements
for acceptance by the IRS. See Non-IRS powers of attorney,
When Is a Power of Attorney Required
Submit a power of attorney when you want to authorize an individual
to represent you before the IRS, whether or not the representative
performs any of the other acts cited above under What is a Power
A power of attorney is most often required when you want to
authorize another individual to perform at least one of the following
acts on your behalf:
- Represent you at a conference with the IRS.
- Prepare and file a written response to the IRS.
Use Form 2848 to appoint a representative to act on your behalf
before the IRS. You can file this form only if you want to
name a person(s) to represent you and that person is a person
recognized to practice before the IRS. Persons recognized to practice
before the IRS are listed under Part II, Declaration of
Representative, of Form 2848. Your representative must complete
that part of the form.
Unenrolled return preparers.
Use Form 2848 to appoint an unenrolled return preparer as your
The authority of the preparer is limited as described in Revenue
Procedure 81-38 (Publication 470). The preparer can represent you only
before revenue agents and examining officers of the Examination
Division of the IRS. Also, the preparer can represent you concerning
your tax liability only for the period covered by a return prepared by
the preparer. For more information about the limitations on enrolled
return preparers, see Limited practice, under
Unenrolled return preparers, earlier.
Non-IRS powers of attorney.
The IRS will accept a non-IRS power of attorney, but a completed
"transmittal" Form 2848 must be attached in order for the power
of attorney to be entered into the Centralized Authorization File
(CAF). For more information, see Processing a non-IRS power of
attorney, later. If you want to use a power of attorney document
other than Form 2848, it must contain the following information.
- Your name and mailing address.
- Your social security number and/or employer identification
- Your employee plan number, if applicable.
- The name and mailing address of your representative.
- The types of tax involved.
- The federal tax form number.
- The specific year(s) or period(s) involved.
- For estate tax matters, the decedent's date of death.
- A clear expression of your intention concerning the scope of
authority granted to your representative.
- Your signature and date.
You also must attach to the non-IRS power of attorney a signed
and dated statement made by your representative. This statement, which
is referred to as the "Declaration of Representative," is
contained in Part II of Form 2848. The statement should read:
- I am not currently under suspension or disbarment from
practice before the Internal Revenue Service;
- I am aware of the regulations contained in Treasury
Department Circular No. 230 (31 CFR, Part 10) concerning the practice
of attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents, enrolled
actuaries, and others;
- I am authorized to represent the taxpayer(s) identified in
the power of attorney; and
- I am authorized to practice before the Internal Revenue
Service as an individual described in 26 CFR 601.502(a). See Who
Can Practice Before the IRS, earlier.
Required information missing.
If your non-IRS power of attorney does not contain all the required
information discussed above, you may want to sign and submit a Form
2848 or a new non-IRS power of attorney that contains the necessary
information. Or, if you cannot sign an acceptable replacement
document, your attorney-in-fact may be able to perfect (make
acceptable to the IRS) your non-IRS power of attorney by using the
Procedure for perfecting a non-IRS power of attorney.
Under this procedure, the attorney-in-fact named in your non-IRS
power of attorney can sign a Form 2848 on your behalf under the
- The original non-IRS power of attorney grants authority to
handle federal tax matters (general authority to perform any acts, for
- The attorney-in-fact attaches a statement (signed under
penalty of perjury) to the Form 2848 stating that the original non-IRS
power of attorney is valid under the laws of the governing
The Form 2848 prepared by your attorney-in-fact should be
signed in the following manner: "Jane Taxpayer (your name), by John
Attorney (your attorney-in-fact's name) under authority of the
attached power of attorney."
The individual named as representative in the Form 2848 can be the
attorney-in-fact named in the original power of attorney or any other
individual recognized to practice before the IRS.
John Elm, a taxpayer, signs a durable power of attorney that names
his neighbor, Ed Larch, as his attorney-in-fact. The power of attorney
grants Ed the authority to perform any and all acts on John's behalf.
However, it does not list specific tax-related information such as
types of tax or tax form numbers.
Shortly after John signs the power of attorney, he is declared
incompetent. Later, a federal tax matter arises concerning a prior
year return filed by John. Ed attempts to represent John before the
IRS, but is rejected because the durable power of attorney does not
contain required information.
If Ed attaches a statement (signed under the penalty of perjury)
that the durable power of attorney is valid under the laws of the
governing jurisdiction, he can sign a completed Form 2848 and submit
it on John's behalf. If Ed can practice before the IRS (see Who
Can Practice Before the IRS, earlier), he can name himself as
representative on Form 2848; otherwise, he must name another
individual who can practice before the IRS.
Processing a non-IRS power of attorney.
The IRS has a centralized computer database called the CAF that
contains information on the authority of taxpayer representatives.
Generally, when you submit a power of attorney document to the IRS, it
is processed for inclusion in the CAF. Entry of your power of attorney
into the CAF enables IRS personnel, who do not have a copy of your
power of attorney, to verify the authority of your representative by
accessing the central computer file. It also enables the IRS to
automatically send copies of notices and other IRS communications to
You can have your non-IRS power of attorney entered into the CAF by
attaching it to a completed "transmittal" Form 2848 and
submitting it to the IRS. You do not have to sign the transmittal Form
2848, but, in the space provided for your signature, you should enter
the words "For Transmittal Purposes Only." Also, your
attorney-in-fact must sign the Declaration of Representative (see Part
II of Form 2848).
Preparation of Form - Helpful Hints
The preparation of Form 2848 is illustrated by an example, later,
under How Do I Fill Out Form 2848. However, the following
will also assist you in preparing the form.
The following hints are summaries of some of the line-by-line
instructions for Form 2848.
Line 1-Taxpayer Information.
If a joint return is involved and you and your spouse have
different addresses, you must enter each address. If you and your
spouse choose different representatives, each of you must file a Form
Only individuals can represent you. If your representative has not
been assigned a CAF number, enter "None" on that line and the IRS
will issue one to him or her. If the representative's address or phone
number has changed since the CAF number was issued, you should check
the appropriate box.
If you want to name more than three representatives, you must
attach a list of the additional representatives to the form. Normally,
the IRS will send notices and other written communications to you and
a copy to the first representative listed. However, you can choose
other options (see line 7 of Form 2848).
Line 3-Tax Matters.
You can list any tax years or periods that ended before the date
the form is signed. You also may list future periods that end no later
than 3 years from that date. However, avoid general references such as
"all years" or "all periods."
If the "type of tax,""tax form number," or "year(s) or
period(s)" column does not apply to your particular tax matter, you
should enter "not applicable" in that column and, instead,
describe the matter.
Line 4-Specific Uses Not Recorded on Centralized
Authorization File (CAF).
Certain matters cannot be recorded onto the CAF system. Examples of
such matters include, but are not limited to, the following.
- Civil penalty issues.
- Trust fund recovery penalties.
- Requests for a private letter ruling.
- Applications for an employer identification number.
- Claims filed on Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request
- Corporate dissolutions.
- Requests for change of accounting method.
- Requests for change of accounting period.
If the tax matter described on line 3 of Form 2848 concerns one
of these matters specifically, check the box on this line (line 4). If
this line is checked, your representative should bring a copy of the
power of attorney to each IRS office where the specific matter will be
Where To File a Power of Attorney
File the power of attorney with each IRS office with which you
deal. If the power of attorney is filed for a matter currently pending
before an office of the IRS, such as an examination, file the power of
attorney with that office. Otherwise, file it with the service center
where the related return was, or will be, filed. Refer to the
instructions for the related tax return for the service center
The IRS will accept a copy of a power of attorney that is submitted
by facsimile transmission (FAX). If you choose to file a power of
attorney by FAX, be sure the appropriate IRS office is equipped to
accept this type of transmission.
Powers of attorney may be filed directly with the CAF units at the
service center where you filed, or will file your tax return(s) shown
on the power of attorney form.
This is archived information that pertains only to the 2001 Tax Year. If you
are looking for information for the current tax year, go to the Tax Prep Help Area.
Updating power of attorney.
To update Form 2848, tell the IRS when any information on the form
changes. Do this by writing a letter to the IRS office(s) where you
filed the power of attorney, or file a new power of attorney.
Revoking a power of attorney.
If you want to revoke an existing power of attorney and do not want
to name a new representative, there are two ways to do it. You can
revoke a power of attorney by sending a revocation copy of
Form 2848 to each office of the IRS where you originally filed the
form. You should also send a copy to the service center where you
filed the return for the matter covered by the power of attorney. If
you do not have a copy, you can revoke by filing a revocation
statement with the same places you would send a revocation copy.
A revocation copy is a copy of the original Form 2848 that you
revise as follows:
- Write the word "REVOKE" at the top center of page 1,
- Sign and date it at the bottom of page 2 following the
Declaration of Representative section.
The statement of revocation must indicate that the authority of the
power of attorney is revoked and it must list the name and address of
each recognized representative whose authority is revoked. You must
sign the statement.
Revoking a non-IRS power of attorney.
If you want to revoke a power of attorney for which a Form 2848 was
not filed, write a letter requesting the revocation and attach a copy
of the power of attorney that you want to be revoked. Sign and date
the letter, and send it to each office of the IRS where you originally
filed the non-IRS power of attorney.
Automatic revocation of power of attorney (or tax information
Unless you specify otherwise on the form (line 8, Part I), a newly
filed power of attorney concerning the same matter will revoke a
previously filed power of attorney, but not a previously filed tax
Similarly, a newly filed tax information authorization will revoke
a previously filed tax information authorization concerning the same
tax matter, but will not revoke a power of attorney concerning that
When Is a Power of Attorney Not Required
The following situations do not require a power of attorney.
Providing information to the IRS.
A power of attorney is not required when a person is merely
furnishing information at the request of the IRS.
Disclosure of tax return information.
You are not required to file a power of attorney to authorize the
IRS to disclose information concerning your tax account(s) to an
individual (whether or not the individual is authorized to practice
before the IRS) or other party (such as a corporation, a partnership,
or an association). For this purpose, you can use Form 8821, Tax
Information Authorization. Form 8821 is strictly a
disclosure authorization form and cannot be used to name an individual
to represent you before the IRS. If you want to name a
representative, you should use Form 2848.
Form 8821 example.
The following example illustrates Form 8821. The filled-in form is
illustrated on the following page.
John Oak wants his associate, Jane Birch, to be informed about his
personal tax accounts. To have this information disclosed to Jane,
John fills out Form 8821. Since this is only a disclosure form, it
will not give Jane any power to represent John before the IRS.
When you file a Form 8821 with the IRS, it also is processed for
entry into the CAF. Entry into the file enables the IRS to send copies
of notices and other IRS communications to the person (individual or
other entity) designated on the form.
A tax matters partner or person (TMP).
A TMP is authorized by law (see sections 6231(a)(7) of the Internal
Revenue Code) to perform various acts on behalf of a partnership or
subchapter S corporation. This may include the power to delegate
authority to represent the TMP and to sign documents in that capacity.
But certain acts performed by the TMP cannot be delegated. Sections
6221 through 6234 and sections 6240 through 6255 of the Internal
Revenue Code and the related regulations discuss "partnership level"
tax proceedings and the responsibilities of the TMP.
A fiduciary (trustee, executor, administrator, receiver, or
guardian) stands in the position of the taxpayer and acts as the
taxpayer. Therefore, a fiduciary does not act as a representative and
should not file a power of attorney. However, a fiduciary should file
Form 56, Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship, to
notify the IRS of the fiduciary relationship.
Filled-in Form 8821
How Do I Fill Out Form 2848
The following example illustrates how to complete Form 2848. The
filled-in form follows the example.
Stan and Mary Doe have been notified that their joint tax return
(Form 1040) for 1998 is being examined. They have decided to appoint
Jim Smith, an enrolled agent, to represent them in this matter and any
future matters concerning the return. Jim, who has prepared returns at
the same location for years, already has a Centralized Authorization
File (CAF) number assigned to him. Stan and Mary do not want Jim to
sign any agreements to pay additional taxes or to receive any refund
checks. They want copies of all notices and written communications to
be sent to Jim. This is the first time Stan and Mary have given power
of attorney to anyone. They should complete one Form 2848 as follows:
Line 1-Taxpayer Information.
They enter their names, street address, and social security numbers
in the spaces provided.
They enter the name and current address of their chosen
representative, Jim Smith. They also enter Mr. Smith's CAF number, his
telephone number, and his FAX number. Since Mr. Smith's address and
telephone number have not changed since the IRS issued his CAF number,
Stan and Mary do not check either box in the second column.
Line 3-Tax Matters.
They enter "income" for the type of tax, "1040" for the
form number, and "1998" for the tax year.
Line 4-Specific Uses Not Recorded on CAF.
Stan and Mary make no entry on this line because they do not want
to restrict the use for their power of attorney to a specific use that
is not recorded on the CAF. See Preparation of Form -
Helpful Hints, earlier.
Line 5-Acts Authorized.
Because Stan and Mary want to sign any agreement form that reflects
changes to their 1998 income tax liability, they restrict the acts Mr.
Smith is authorized to perform by writing "taxpayers must sign any
agreement form" on line 5. If they had chosen, they could have
listed other restrictions on line 5.
Line 6-Receipt of Refund Checks.
They make no entry on line 6 because they want any refund checks
sent directly to them.
Line 7-Notices and Communications.
Stan and Mary make no entry on line 7 because they want the
original notices and communications sent to them, and the copies sent
to Mr. Smith.
Line 8-Retention/Revocation of Prior Powers of
Since Stan and Mary are filing their first power of attorney, they
make no entry on this line. However, if they had filed prior powers of
attorney, the filing of this current power would automatically revoke
any earlier ones for the same tax matter(s). Therefore, to retain an
earlier power of attorney, they would need to check the box on line 8
and attach a copy of the prior power of attorney that they want to
If Stan and Mary decide later that they can handle the examination
on their own, they can revoke the power of attorney. (See
Revoking a power of attorney, earlier for the special
Line 9-Signature of Taxpayer(s).
Because this is a joint authorization (see line 1), both Stan and
Mary must sign and date the form. If they do not, the IRS cannot
Part II-Declaration of Representative.
Jim Smith must complete this part of Form 2848. If he does not sign
this part, IRS cannot accept the form.
What Happens to the Power of Attorney When Filed
A power of attorney will be recognized after it is received,
reviewed, and determined by the IRS to contain the required
information. However, until a power of attorney is entered into the
CAF system, IRS personnel other than the individual to whom the form
is submitted may be unaware of the authority of the person you have
named to represent you. Therefore, during this interim, other IRS
personnel who do not have access to a copy of your power of attorney
may request that you or your representative submit an additional copy.
Processing and Handling
Processing and handling of the power of attorney submitted differs
depending on whether it is a complete or incomplete document.
If the power of attorney document is incomplete, the IRS will
attempt to secure the missing information either by writing or
telephoning you or your representative. For example, if your signature
or signature date is missing, the IRS will contact you. Also, if
information concerning your representative is missing and information
sufficient to make a contact (such as an address and/or a telephone
number) is on the document, the IRS will attempt to contact your
In either case, the power of attorney is not considered valid until
all required information is entered on the document. The individual(s)
named as representative(s) will not be recognized to practice before
the IRS until the document is complete and accepted by the IRS.
When the IRS receives a complete and valid power of attorney, the
IRS will then take action to recognize the representative. In most
instances, this involves processing the document into the CAF system.
Recording the data on the CAF enables the IRS to automatically direct
copies of mailings to authorized representatives and to instantly
recognize the scope of authority granted.
Filled-in Form 2848 - Page 1
Filled-in Form 2848 - Page 2
Documents not processed on CAF.
Specific-use powers of attorney, however, are not processed into
the CAF (see Preparation of Form - Helpful Hints, earlier).
For example, a power of attorney that is a one-time or specific-issue
grant of authority is not processed on the CAF. These documents
remain with the related case files. In this situation, check the box
on line 4 of Form 2848. If it is checked, the representative should
bring a copy of the power of attorney to each meeting with the IRS.
Dealing With the Representative
After a valid power of attorney is filed, the IRS will recognize
your representative. However, if it appears the representative is
responsible for unreasonably delaying or hindering the prompt
disposition of an IRS matter by failing to furnish, after repeated
requests, nonprivileged information, the IRS can contact you directly.
For example, in most instances in which a power of attorney is
recognized, the IRS will contact the representative to set up
appointments and to provide lists of required items. But, if the
representative is unavailable, does not respond to repeated requests,
and does not provide required items (other than items considered
"privileged"), the IRS can bypass your representative and contact
If a representative engages in conduct described above, the matter
can be referred to the Director of Practice for consideration of
possible disciplinary action.
Notices and other correspondence.
If you have a recognized representative, you and the representative
will receive required notices and other correspondence from the IRS
(either the original or a copy), unless you checked box (c) on line 7
of Form 2848 or placed a similar restriction on your authorization of
a representative (power of attorney). If the power of attorney is
processed on the CAF, the IRS will send your representative(s) a
duplicate of all computer-generated correspondence that is sent to
you. (This includes notices and letters produced either at our service
centers or at the Martinsburg Computing Center.) The IRS employee
handling the case is responsible for ensuring that the original and
any requested copies of each manually-generated correspondence are
sent to you and your representative(s) in accordance with your
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