Dealing with the IRS is rarely easy. Procedures may not always be clear, and laws can get complicated fast. Communications can be especially difficult if you are being audited, have an unpaid tax balance, or are facing a court summons regarding your taxes.
You have the option of authorizing a qualified tax specialist to represent you before the IRS if you find yourself overwhelmed by a challenging tax situation. Just complete and submit a special tax form known as IRS Tax Form 2848 to empower them to fight for you.
This guide will cover what Form 2848 is, frequently asked questions, reasons you may need to file one, and how to go about submitting it.
What Is Form 2848 and How Is It Used?
Commonly known as power of attorney, or POA, Form 2848 is a two-page IRS tax form that authorizes a qualified person to represent you before the IRS. By submitting Form 2848, you give permission for an eligible individual to examine your tax information. The IRS provides guidelines regarding Form 2848, noting that your representative must be an eligible person, such as a tax attorney or CPA:
“Use Form 2848 to authorize an individual to represent you before the IRS. The individual you authorize must be a person eligible to practice before the IRS. Your authorization of a qualifying representative will also allow that individual to receive and inspect your confidential tax information.” – United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Common FAQs About IRS Form 2848
Commonly known as a power of attorney, Form 2848 is a two-page document that authorizes a qualified person to represent you in dealings with the IRS. By submitting the IRS Power of Attorney Form 2848, you grant permission for an eligible individual to examine your tax information. The IRS states that your representative must be an eligible person, such as a tax attorney or CPA, who will receive and review your confidential information.
You must name a representative who is considered an eligible individual by the IRS. The representative must be one of the following:
- Certified public accountant (CPA)
- Enrolled agent (by the IRS)
- Offered by a taxpayer organization
- Full-time employee of the taxpayer
- Immediate family member (spouse, parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, step-parent, step-child, brother, or sister) of the taxpayer
- Enrolled actuary
- Unenrolled return preparer
- Qualifying student or law graduate who has received permission to represent taxpayers
- Enrolled retirement planning agent
Only these individuals may be named as representatives on Form 2848. Note that representatives such as family members may not be able to have complete access or signing privileges as a certified tax professional would.
No. The taxpayer is still liable for all matters with the IRS. The representative simply acts on your behalf when appearing before the IRS or signing and reviewing agreements.
Another commonly asked question is why a taxpayer would need to file Form 2848 in the first place. It can be an important tool in several likely scenarios.
What Are the Top 6 Reasons to File Form 2848?
1) You Are Being Audited
It can be alarming to hear from the IRS that you will be audited – especially if you already struggle with preparing your taxes. Most IRS audits are conducted by mail, though the audit may also be conducted at an IRS office in your area.
2) You Have an Unpaid Tax Balance
“If you owe back taxes and don’t know how you’re going to pay the debt, the FTC, the nation’s consumer protection agency, says don’t panic, take a deep breath, and consider your options.” – United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Owing back taxes can be stressful. Fortunately, you may be eligible for options such as an installment agreement or Offer in Compromise (OIC). But deciding which option to take and negotiating on tax matters is intimidating for a lot of people.
A skilled tax lawyer can help you decide how to best proceed and can handle communications with the IRS. However, you will need to submit Form 2848 to give your lawyer access to your tax information.
3) You Have to Go to Tax Court
Much like an audit or back taxes, the prospect of going to tax court is unnerving. Many people who are summoned to tax court have a tax deficiency or related unresolved matter. Further, many cases are settled before trial, in large part because taxpayers often hire tax attorneys to help ensure that their cases proceed as quickly and affordably as possible.
4) Your Health or Well-Being Is Compromised
Health complications may interfere with your ability to file your taxes accurately and in a timely fashion. If your eyesight is impaired or you are not able to fully function, a power of attorney allows a qualified person you designate to access your information and represent you before the IRS. If your health improves and you no longer wish to grant an agent access to your taxes, you can revoke a previously submitted form.
5) You Want a Professional to Manage Your Taxes
“Most CPA tax practitioners regularly use a Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, to represent their clients…Practitioners may withdraw an authorization at any time.” – Susan C. Allen, CPA/CITP, CGMA, Journal of Accountancy.
6) Your Tax Situation Is Suddenly More Complicated
Receiving a large inheritance, getting divorced, or selling property can add to the complexity of your tax situation. When an unexpected life change occurs, it often has an impact on the taxes you pay.
A simple filing mistake could end up costing you thousands of dollars and may even lead to an audit. Rather than try to navigate through these changes on your own, you may decide to complete Form 2848 and enlist the help of a tax expert.
How and Where to File Form 2848
Make sure you sign the form in a reliable format. You should receive a confirmation email after you complete the form, sign it, and submit it online. This quick confirmation is a big benefit of submitting online, and the process can move a lot faster.
Be careful about following these guidelines when submitting the form. A tax professional will help and make sure you follow all the necessary protocols.
Need Help Filing Form 2848?
Sometimes the reasons to file Form 2848 or the steps you have to take are not crystal clear. The best way to determine whether you should file Form 2848 is to seek the expertise of an IRS tax lawyer. With the help of a trusted tax attorney, you can approach your taxes with confidence knowing that you are complying with IRS requirements.
The experts at Silver Tax Group are here to answer your questions about IRS Form 2848 and any other tax-related matters. We assist clients from across the country with emergency tax assistance, criminal tax defense, offshore assets, accounting, and tax consulting, streamlined installment agreements, and IRS audit help. Contact us today with any tax-related questions you may have.