Effective with a Revised Date of October, 2011, the Internal Revenue Service has issued a new Power of Attorney, Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative.
Although a cursory glance won’t reveal too many changes, the “What’s New” section of the instructions seems to reveal a new designation for “registered tax preparers.” While that certainly seems logical in light of the changes related to PTIN numbers and rules regarding paid preparers, there is something else…
There also appears to be room for only one Taxpayer name and Taxpayer social security number. That is clearly a “new change” and warranted mention in that area of the instructions. Thus, if a representative is representing a husband and a wife on a joint return, are two Forms 2848 now required? I’m publicly posing this question.
I am representing a taxpayer in a current matter, and the revenue examiner called me to indicate that the new Power of Attorney “must” be filed. It “must” be?
Frankly, the old form should suffice if in a pinch (for CPA’s and/or Attorneys anyways). The very same instructions to the revised Form 2848 state the following. “The IRS will accept a power of attorney other than Form 2848 provided the document satisfies the requirements for a power of attorney… These alternative powers of attorney cannot, however, be recorded on the CAF unless a completed Form 2848 is attached…”
Ok. Well, frankly I don’t really care about CAF unless I am dealing with a collection matter or non-examination type of engagement. In an examination I am dealing with one office and usually, one examiner, and he or she has my POA which has all the required information. So while I completely disagree with the need to use the “revised” Form (the examiner’s “must” language), since I am a CPA and an Attorney (thus making the registered tax preparer designation irrelevant), I do respect this requirement and will use the form going forward. Naturally, I recommend the same to all practitioners. It’s futile and silly not to, actually. CAF is a computerized system, and we all understand how things must neatly fit into little boxes at the IRS. However, from a legal standpoint, I firmly believe that a revenue examiner cannot bypass a representative (read, CPA and/or Attorney) who uses the “old” Form 2848, and for whatever reason, cannot timely retrieve a “revised October, 2011” POA (taxpayer out of the country for extended period, for example). The IRS would have what it needs for representation in that isolated case.
Here is the new, revised Form 2848, for the reader’s reference.