The State Tax Power of Attorney allows for an individual or entity to use another party, usually an accountant or tax attorney, to have the ability to file taxes on behalf of the taxpayer.
Federal Taxes (IRS Form 2848) – If a party is to represent someone else for taxes that are to be filed with the Internal Revenue Service they must fill-in Form 2848 (Revised December 2015).
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
What is a Tax Power of Attorney?
The power of attorney form, or federal form 2848, is a legal document that gives another person the ability to discuss your tax matters with the IRS for a specific period of time, outlined within the form itself. This person is then the legal representative to the IRS for tax matters. Most commonly, this form is used for tax attorneys, CPA’s, and enrolled agents that handle tax matters. However, it can also include persons such as friends or family members.
Form 2848 lists the following as possible contenders for the position:
- Certified public accountants
- Enrolled agents
- Full-time employee
- Family member
- Enrolled actuary
- Un-enrolled return preparer
- Registered tax return preparer
- Student attorney or CPA
- Enrolled retirement plan agent
When to Use a Tax Power of Attorney
Anyone thinking of giving another person legal rights to their tax information should consider a few questions:
- What are my goals and reasons for choosing a representative?
- What is this third party doing for me that I cannot do myself?
- Is the person I have chosen the best for this job?
Giving a tax attorney rights can be incredibly helpful at times, but should be taken into consideration very seriously. Giving someone else authorization doesn’t completely absolve the taxpayer themselves of tax obligations, it just means that someone else can handle certain matters. Keep in mind that attorneys and other certified tax experts are held to very specific legal standards that friends and family are not. To keep sensitive information from getting out, hiring a certified expert is safest.
No matter who is the representative, the taxpayers themselves should expect to stay involved. Giving up the right to talk to the IRS doesn’t pardon a person of all responsibility. There are still deadlines to be met, and the taxpayer is still legally responsible for making sure what needs to get done is done. Keeping an open dialogue with the third party will keep everything moving smoothly. Using a professional instead of a family member is one way to keep the whole process as stress-free as possible.
Can a Power of Attorney Sign Tax Returns?
According to the updated 2848 form, anyone granted power of attorney cannot sign basic tax returns unless otherwise noted. They cannot substitute or add other representatives or receive checks either. Rights include receiving and inspecting confidential tax information, signing consents and waivers, and other similar taxpayer acts unless prohibited on the form. Giving another individual power of attorney does not mean that the taxpayer has no responsibility or requirements, but rather that, another individual simply becomes their representative to help ensure that tax issues are dealt with properly.