What is the Form 2848?

When you hire a tax attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent, they will usually ask you to sign a Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative.

The Form 2848 is the form you use to designate a representative for tax purposes. This form allows your representative to get and give information to the IRS.

Why Do I Need a Form 2848?

The short version is that the IRS will not work with your tax attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent absent a Form 2848.

The longer version is that our tax laws prohibit the IRS from disclosing your tax information without your permission. You can read about the IRS confidentiality rules here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

The IRS requires this form for IRS audits, IRS collections cases, and even routine calls to get your IRS transcripts.

How Does the IRS Process the Form 2848?

The IRS maintains a Centralized Authorization File (“CAF”). The CAF is just a list of all Forms 2848 that can be accessed by your name or the tax represetnaties name.

The IRS has CAF Units with staff located in the IRS service centers in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania; Memphis, Tennessee; and Ogden, Utah.

Most practitioners will simply fax your completed Form 2848 to the IRS CAF unit (the fax number is 855-214-7522 if you are in Texas). They can also be mailed to the IRS CAF unit if time is not of the essence.

How Long Does it Take the IRS to Process the Form 2848?

The IRS CAF units are notoriously slow. It can take the IRS CAF unit several days or even weeks to process the forms it receives.

The IRS CAF Units are also known to lose forms, not process forms that should be processed, and fail to remove old or outdated forms.

Why does it take so long? The answer is that the IRS has to check the forms for accuracy.

The IRS CAF unit employees are supposed to check for:

  1. Taxpayers handwritten signature and date.
  2. Representative designation and number and signature and date.
  3. Representative address and designation numbers (the IRS assigns representatives CAF numbers).
  4. The tax year, tax period, and type of tax.

The IRS will often reject Forms 2848 due to electronic signatures or illegible tax years, periods, or tax types.

Recognizing these problems, Congress has proposed a few solutions. The Taxpayer First Act requires the IRS to accept electronic signatures from taxpayers. The IRS has not yet been able to implement this change.

It should be noted that the IRS’s efforts to improve this function have not been successful due to the serious nature of what this form does. This form provides your information to third parties. There are individuals and entities that would love to have access to this information. They may even commit illegal or fraudulent acts to get it. The IRS CAF Units have to defend against this. When viewed from this angle, you can see why this function has been problematic and why it isn’t likely to improve much in the near future.

How Long is the Form 2848 Valid?

The Form 2848 is valid until it is revoked. It can be revoked by you or your representative or by filing a new Form 2848.

To revoke the Form 2848 you just write the word “Revoke” across the top and sign and date next to this and send the form to the IRS CAF unit. If you do not have a copy of the Form 2848, you can write a letter to the IRS explaining that the Form 2848 should be revoked and send that to the IRS CAF unit.

Even though the Form 2848 is valid until revoked, most IRS employees will insist on receiving a new Form 2848 that is dated within the last two years.

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