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Publication 947

Authorizing a Representative(p7)

You may either represent yourself, or you may authorize an individual to represent you before the IRS. If you chose to have someone represent you, your representative must be a person eligible to do so before the IRS. See Who Can Practice Before the IRS?, earlier.

What Is a Power of Attorney?(p7)

A power of attorney is your written authorization for an individual to receive your confidential tax information from the IRS and to perform certain actions on your behalf. If the authorization is not limited, the individual generally can perform all acts that you can perform, except negotiating a check. The authority granted to enrolled retirement plan agents, enrolled actuaries and unenrolled return preparers holding records of completion is limited. For information on the limits regarding annual filing season program record of completion holders, see Revenue Procedure 2014–42 and

Acts performed.(p7)

Attorneys, certified public accountants, and enrolled agents may perform the following acts:
  1. Represent you before any office of the IRS.
  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 claim for credit or refund.
  3. Sign a consent to extend the statutory time period for assessment or collection of a tax.
  4. Sign a closing agreement.

Signing your return.(p8)

The representative named under a power of attorney is not permitted to sign your income tax return unless:
  1. The signature is permitted under the Internal Revenue Code and the related regulations (see Regulations section 1.6012-1(a)(5)), and
  2. You specifically authorize this in your power of attorney.
For example, the regulation permits a representative to sign your return if you are unable to sign the return due to:When a return is signed by a representative, it must be accompanied by a power of attorney (or copy) authorizing the representative to sign the return. For more information, see the Form 2848 instructions.

Limitation on substitution or delegation.(p8)

A recognized representative can substitute or delegate authority under the power of attorney to another recognized representative only if the act is specifically authorized by you on the power of attorney.
After a substitution has been made, only the newly recognized representative will be recognized as the taxpayer's representative. If a delegation of power has been made, both the original and the delegated representative will be recognized by the IRS to represent you.

Disclosure of returns to a third party.(p8)

Your representative cannot execute consents that will allow the IRS to disclose tax return or return information to a third party unless you specifically delegate this authority to your representative on line 5 of Form 2848.

Incapacity or incompetency.(p8)

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 line 5 "Other" of the Form 2848 and if your non-IRS durable power of attorney meets all the requirements for acceptance by the IRS. See Non-IRS powers of attorney, later.

When Is a Power of Attorney Required?(p8)

Submit a power of attorney when you want to authorize an individual to receive your confidential tax information and represent you before the IRS, whether or not the representative performs any of the other acts cited earlier under What Is a Power of Attorney? .
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.
  1. Represent you at a meeting with the IRS.
  2. Prepare and file a written response to an IRS inquiry.

Form Required(p8)

Use IRS Form 2848 to appoint a recognized representative to act on your behalf before the IRS. Individuals recognized to represent you before the IRS are listed under Part II, Declaration of Representative, of Form 2848. Your representative must complete that part of the form.

Non-IRS powers of attorney.(p8)

The IRS will accept a non-IRS power of attorney, but a completed Form 2848 must be attached in order for the power of attorney to be entered on the Centralized Authorization File (CAF) system. For more information, see Processing a non-IRS power of attorney, later.
If you want to use a document other than Form 2848 to authorize the representation, it must contain the following information. 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:
  1. I am not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the Internal Revenue Service or other practice of my profession by any other authority,
  2. I am subject to regulations contained in Circular 230 (31 C.F.R., Subtitle A, Part 10) as amended, governing practice before the Internal Revenue Service,
  3. I am authorized to represent the taxpayer(s) identified in the power of attorney, and
  4. I am a (naming the capacity in which representation is undertaken, as set forth in the list of eligible representatives at Part II of Form 2848.)
Required information missing.(p9)
The IRS will not accept your non-IRS power of attorney if it does not contain all the information listed above. You can sign and submit a completed Form 2848 or a new non-IRS power of attorney that contains all the information. 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 described next.
Procedure for perfecting a non-IRS power of attorney.(p9)
Under the following conditions, the attorney-in-fact named in your non-IRS power of attorney can sign a Form 2848 on your behalf.
  1. The original non-IRS power of attorney grants authority to handle federal tax matters (for example, general authority to perform any acts).
  2. 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 jurisdiction.


John Elm, a taxpayer, signs a non-IRS durable power of attorney that names his neighbor and CPA, 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.(p9)
The IRS has a centralized computer database system called the CAF system. This system 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 on the CAF system. Entry of your power of attorney on the CAF system enables IRS personnel, who do not have a copy of your power of attorney, to verify the authority of your representative by accessing the CAF. It also enables the IRS to automatically send copies of notices and other IRS communications to your representative if you specify that your representative should receive those communications.
You can have your non-IRS power of attorney entered on the CAF system by attaching it to a completed Form 2848 and submitting it to the IRS. Your signature is not required; however, your attorney-in-fact must sign the Declaration of Representative (see Part II of Form 2848).

Preparation of Form — Helpful Hints(p9)

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.

Line-by-line hints.(p9)

The following hints are summaries of some of the line-by-line instructions for Form 2848.
Line 1—Taxpayer information.(p9)
If a joint return is involved, the husband and wife each must file a separate Form 2848 if they both want to be represented, even if the representative is the same person. If only one spouse wants to be represented in the matter, that spouse files a Form 2848.
Line 2—Representative(s).(p9)
Only individuals may be named as representatives. If your representative has not been assigned a CAF number, enter "None" on that line and the IRS will issue one to your representative. If the representative's address or phone number has changed since the CAF number was issued, you should check the appropriate box. Enter your representative's fax number if available.
If you want to name more than four representatives, attach additional Form(s) 2848. The IRS will send copies of notices and communications to up to two of your representatives. You must, however, check the boxes on line 2 of the Form 2848 if you want the IRS to routinely send copies of notices and communications to your representatives. If you do not check the boxes, your representatives will not routinely receive copies of notices and communications.
Line 3—Tax matters.(p9)
You may list any tax years or periods that have already ended as of the date you sign the power of attorney. You also may include on a power of attorney future tax periods if that seems appropriate under the circumstances. Avoid general references such as "all years,""all periods," or "all taxes." Any Form 2848 with such general references will be returned.
Line 4—Specific use not recorded on Centralized Authorization File (CAF).(p9)
Certain matters cannot be recorded on the CAF system. Examples of such matters include, but are not limited to, the following. (A more detailed list appears in the Form 2848 instructions.)If the tax matter described on line 3 of Form 2848 concerns one of these matters specifically, check the box on line 4. If this box is checked, the representative should mail or fax the power of attorney to the IRS office handling the matter. Otherwise, the representative should bring a copy of the power of attorney to each meeting with the IRS.

Where To File a Power of Attorney(p10)

Generally, you can mail or fax a paper Form 2848 directly to the IRS. To determine where you should file Form 2848, see Where To File in the instructions for Form 2848.
If Form 2848 is for a specific use, mail or fax it to the office handling that matter. For more information on specific use, see the Instructions for Form 2848, line 4.
FAX copies.(p10)
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.
Your representative may be able to file Form 2848 electronically via the IRS website. For more information, your representative can go to and under the Tax Professionals tab, click on e-services–Online Tools for Tax Professionals. If you complete Form 2848 for electronic signature authorization, do not file Form 2848 with the IRS. Instead, give it to your representative, who will retain the document.

Updating a power of attorney.(p10)

Submit any update or modification to an existing power of attorney in writing. Your signature (or the signature of the individual(s) authorized to sign on your behalf) is required. Do this by sending the updated Form 2848 or non-IRS power of attorney to the IRS office(s) where you previously sent the original(s), including the center where the related return was, or will be filed.
A recognized representative may substitute or delegate authority if you specifically authorize your representative to substitute or delegate representation in the original power of attorney. To make a substitution or delegation, the representative must file the following items with the IRS office(s) where the power of attorney was filed.
  1. A written notice of substitution or delegation signed by the recognized representative.
  2. A written declaration of representative made by the new representative.
  3. A copy of the power of attorney that specifically authorizes the substitution or delegation.

Retention/Revocation of Prior Power(s) of Attorney(p10)

A newly filed power of attorney concerning the same matter will revoke a previously filed power of attorney. However, the new power of attorney will not revoke the prior power of attorney if it specifically states it does not revoke such prior power of attorney and either of the following are attached to the new power of attorney.
Note.The filing of Form 2848 will not revoke any
Form 8821 that is in effect.

Revocation of Power of Attorney/Withdrawal of Representative(p10)


Revocation by taxpayer.(p10)

If you want to revoke a previously executed power of attorney and do not want to name a new representative, you must write “REVOKE” across the top of the first page of the Form 2848 with a current signature and date immediately below this annotation. Then, you must mail or fax a copy of the power of attorney with the revocation annotation to the IRS, using the Where To File Chart, in the 2848 instructions, or if the power of attorney is for a specific matter, to the IRS office handling the matter.

Withdrawal by representative.(p10)

If your representative wants to withdraw from representation, he or she must write “WITHDRAW” across the top of the first page of the Form 2848 with a current signature and date immediately below the annotation. Then, he or she must provide a copy of the power of attorney with the withdrawal annotation to the IRS in the same manner described in Revocation by taxpayer, above. If your representative does not have a copy of the power of attorney he or she wants to withdraw, he or she must send the IRS a statement of withdrawal that indicates the authority of the power of attorney is withdrawn, lists the matters and years/periods, and lists the name, TIN, and address (if known) of the taxpayer. The representative must sign and date this statement.
A power of attorney held by a student will be recorded on the CAF system for 130 days from the receipt date. If you are authorizing a student to represent you after that time, you will need to submit another updated Form 2848.

When Is a Power of Attorney Not Required?(p11)

A power of attorney is not required when the third party is not dealing with the IRS as your representative. The following situations do not require a power of attorney.

How Do I Fill Out Form 2848?(p11)

The following example illustrates how to complete Form 2848. The two completed forms for this example are shown on the next pages.


Stan and Mary Doe have been notified that their joint tax returns (Forms 1040) for 2011, 2012, and 2013 are being examined. They have decided to appoint Jim Smith, an enrolled agent, to represent them in this matter and any future matters concerning these returns. Jim, who has prepared returns at the same location for years, already has a Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number assigned to him. Mary does not want Jim to sign any agreements on her behalf, but Stan is willing to have Jim do so. They want copies of all notices and written communications sent to Jim. This is the first time Stan and Mary have given power of attorney to anyone. They should each complete a Form 2848 as follows.

Line 1—Taxpayer information.(p11)

Stan and Mary must each file a separate Form 2848. On his separate Form 2848, Stan enters his name, street address, and social security number in the spaces provided. Mary does likewise on her separate Form 2848.

Line 2—Representative(s).(p11)

On their separate Forms 2848, Stan and Mary each enters the name and current address of their chosen representative, Jim Smith. Both Stan and Mary want Jim Smith to receive notices and communications concerning the matters identified in line 3, so on their separate Forms 2848, Stan and Mary each checks the box in the first column of line 2. They also enter Mr. Smith's CAF number, his telephone number, and his fax number. Mr. Smith's address, telephone number, and fax number have not changed since the IRS issued his CAF number, so Stan and Mary do not check the boxes in the second column.

Line 3—Tax Matters.(p11)

On their separate Forms 2848, Stan and Mary each enters "income tax" for the type of matter, "1040" for the form number, and "2011, 2012, and 2013" for the tax years.

Line 4—Specific use not recorded on Centralized Authorization File (CAF).(p11)

On their separate Forms 2848, Stan and Mary make no entry on this line because they do not want to restrict the use of their powers of attorney to a specific use that is not recorded on the CAF. See Preparation of Form — Helpful Hints, earlier.

Line 5—Acts authorized.(p11)

Mary wants to sign any agreement that reflects changes to her and Stan's joint 2011, 2012, and 2013 income tax liability, so she writes "Taxpayer must sign any agreement form" on line 5b of her Form 2848. Stan does not wish to restrict the authority of Jim Smith in this regard, so he leaves line 5b of his Form 2848 blank. If either Mary or Stan had chosen, they could have listed other restrictions on line 5b of their separate Forms 2848.

Line 6—Retention/revocation of prior power(s) of attorney.(p11)

Stan and Mary are each filing their first powers of attorney, so they make no entry on this line. However, if they had filed prior powers of attorney, the filing of this current power would revoke any earlier ones for the same tax matter(s) unless they checked the box on line 6 and attached a copy of the prior power of attorney that they wanted to remain in effect.
If Mary later decides that she can handle the examination on her own, she can revoke her power of attorney even though Stan does not revoke his power of attorney. (See Revocation of Power of Attorney/Withdrawal of Representative, earlier, for the special rules that apply.)

Line 7—Signature of taxpayer.(p11)

Stan and Mary each signs and dates his or her Form 2848. If a taxpayer does not sign, the IRS cannot accept the form.

Part II—Declaration of Representative.(p11)

Jim Smith must complete this part of Form 2848. If he does not sign this part, the IRS cannot accept the form.

What Happens to the Power of Attorney When Filed?(p11)

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 on the CAF system, IRS personnel may be unaware of the authority of the person you have named to represent you. Therefore, during this interim period, IRS personnel may request that you or your representative bring a copy to any meeting with the IRS.
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Processing and Handling(p16)

How the power of attorney is processed and handled depends on whether it is a complete or incomplete document.

Incomplete document.(p16)

If Form 2848 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. 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 try to contact your representative.
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, on your behalf, until the document is complete and accepted by the IRS.

Complete document.(p16)

If the power of attorney is complete and valid, the IRS will take action to recognize the representative. In most instances, this includes processing the document on the CAF system. Recording the data on the CAF system enables the IRS to direct copies of mailings to authorized representatives and to readily recognize the scope of authority granted.
Documents not processed on CAF.(p16)
Specific-use powers of attorney are not processed on the CAF system (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 system. These documents remain with the related case files. In this situation, you should check the box on line 4 of Form 2848. In these situations, the representative should bring a copy of the power of attorney to each meeting with the IRS.

Dealing With the Representative(p16)

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. However, 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 you directly.
If a representative engages in conduct described above, the matter can be referred to the Office of Professional Responsibility for consideration of possible disciplinary action.

Notices and other correspondence.(p16)

If you want to authorize your representative to receive copies of all notices and communications sent to you by the IRS, you must check the box that is provided under the representative's name and address. No more than two representatives may receive copies of notices and communications sent to you by the IRS. Do not check the box if you do not want copies of notices and communications sent to your representative(s).
Note.Representatives will not receive forms, publications, and other related materials with the correspondence.