By Karl L. Fava, CPA, and Arthur Auerbach, CPA

April 1, 2016

Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, typically is seen as straightforward in preparation and filing. What the authors have learned, however, is that many practitioners find that the IRS does not process their Form 2848 filings and returns them because the form was prepared or filed incorrectly.

The power of attorney (POA) is the written authorization for an individual to receive confidential information from the IRS and to perform certain actions on behalf of a taxpayer. If the authorization is not limited, the individual can generally perform all acts that a taxpayer can perform except negotiating a check.

Publication 947, Practice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney, says the following acts can be performed by attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents:

  1. Represent taxpayers before any IRS office;
  2. Sign an offer or a waiver of restriction on assessment or collection of a tax deficiency, or a waiver of notice of disallowance of a claim for credit or refund;
  3. Sign a consent to extend the statutory time period for assessment or collection of tax; and
  4. Sign a closing agreement.

The representative named in a POA cannot sign an income tax return unless:

  1. The signature is permitted under the Internal Revenue Code and the related regulations (see Regs. Sec. 1.6012-1(a)(5)); and
  2. The taxpayer specifically authorizes this in its POA.

The regulation permits the authorized representative to sign a taxpayer’s return if the taxpayer is unable to sign the return due to:

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