IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

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Topic Author
meeotch
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:59 am

IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by meeotch »

I've just had to prepare a 2848 POA form for an aging relative, and after many hours of googling, including picking up some good info from this very forum, I thought I'd post it all in one place for the benefit of other 'heads. (As many of you may have discovered, the IRS does not recognize "normal" POA documents, and requires the 2848 instead.) If anyone has additions or corrections, feel free to post 'em - I don't claim this is definitive, nor is it legal advice, but I feel pretty good about it.

First, some sources:
  • This IRS webinar gets into the gory details pretty well, including some non-obvious stuff. It's long, and probably faster to skim through the transcript. If the link ever goes dead, I have a printout of the transcript that I can upload for anyone who needs it.
  • This website is some sort of anti-identity theft service, which you can ignore, but has a couple of good blog posts on the subject.
How I filled mine out, line by line:
PART I
  1. Taxpayer Information - This is straightforward, but don't forget the address. I left "Plan Number" blank, as my 2848 was for an individual taxpayer.
  2. Representives - Again, remember the addresses. Check the "notices and communications" box. Put "NONE" in the CAF no. box, and the IRS will assign you one. "PTIN" should be blank, if you are a normal person and not a tax preparer. (I thought this would be my SSN, but IRS confirmed on the phone that it is not.)
  3. Acts Authorized - in the three columns, respectively, I put "Income", "1040", and "2019-2027". Note that you can put as many *previous* years as you want, but you can only put three *future* years, from Dec 31st of the year you file the 2848. So since it's 2024 now, 2027 was the ending year. I also listed "Gift", "709" and "2019-2027" on the second line. The form instructions and the webinar go into gory detail about how to format this section.
  4. Specific Use Not Recorded in CAF - leave this blank, for the normal situation where the POA is ongoing. The instructions have a painfully long section about special-case non-CAF situations.
  5. (5a) Additional Acts - if you want to be able to sign a return, there's specific language needed here. Check the "Sign a Return" box, and write: “This power of attorney is being filed pursuant to 26 CFR 1.6012-1(a) (5), which requires a power of attorney to be attached to a return if a return is signed by an agent by reason of disease or injury".
  6. Retention of Prior POA - I left this blank, as there was no prior 2848.
  7. Taxpayer Signature - have your elderly relative sign and date. If they are unable to, see below for a note about signing the 2848 as a legal POA. "Title" I left blank, as this was for an individual, not a trust or business. Note that the dates of the taxpayer's signature and the representative's signature in PART II must be within 45 days of each other.
PART II
  • Designation - "f" for family member.
  • Licensing Jurisdiction - put your relationship to the taxpayer here. "child" in my case. There's a note on the form explaining this.
  • Bar License - I left this blank.
  • Signature - don't forget to sign and see the note above about the dates.
Some other random things I learned:
  • There's another form, Form 56 Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship. From what I can tell from the instructions, and from what the IRS rep told me, this form only applies if you are a court-appointed guardian, if the taxpayer has died, etc. It does *not* seem to apply if you're strictly someone who has been named POA in the normal way via a legal POA document.
  • I've never actually had a problem signing as POA for a return that's electronically submitted (by our accountant), via the usual 8879 E-file Signature Authorization, and I've never had to attach my (normal, non-2848) POA document. I assume that's because it's an electronic filing.
  • The instructions indicate that if the taxpayer is unable to sign, you can sign as their POA, and attach a copy of your POA documents. I have no idea how likely this is to work, and I'm glad I don't have to go that route.
  • You can fax in the completed 2848. Make sure you have the latest version of the instructions, as the fax numbers can change from year to year. When I attempted this, the IRS fax machine was screwed up for many days, and the fax kept failing. (Calling from a phone gave several rings, followed by a busy signal.) Just keep trying, or use a fax service that has automatic retries.
I haven't yet heard back from IRS with a confirmed acceptance, so it's possible that I've missed something, and will need to update/correct some of this info. But it was painful enough to get to this point, so I thought I'd share.
secondcor521
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Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by secondcor521 »

I have a POA for my Dad and file his returns electronically for him each year. I've been doing this the past several years without issue.

Given what you've already researched, what benefit would there be, if any, for me to preemptively bother with a 2848?
Topic Author
meeotch
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Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by meeotch »

Yeah - I probably should've included that context, thanks for the question. My understanding is that the 2848 basically gives you the ability to call IRS and request info, discuss the taxpayer's account, respond to notices and such. I'd been putting it off, as like you, I've never had an issue before with simply e-filing returns.

But I got an email recently saying my relative had a notice in his online irs.gov account, which we set up years ago. Since IRS shut off the traditional logins, and switched over completely to ID.me, I had no way of accessing it to see what it was. (We tried to set up ID.me a while back, but the "submit a selfie" option failed, and they required a video interview, which my relative no longer has the capability to complete, for medical reasons.) So I figured it was time for a 2848, just in case there were future problems that I had to handle.

I asked the IRS rep whether the 2848 would allow me to access my relative's online account, and she couldn't say. She did give me the number for the IRS dept that handles online, and I'll be following up with them. (When I initially called ID.me, saying that there must be thousands of people in this position - elderly people whose kids handle their affairs - and asking if they had a procedure for POA access, the answer was basically "nope".)

My understanding is that once you are assigned a CAF number as a result of the 2848, you can activate your own personal irs.gov account as a "Tax Pro Account", which gives you the ability to access certain information for the taxpayer you represent. What that constitutes, I'm not sure yet. But I'll update this thread with whatever I discover.

TL/DR: for me, it's a "just in case". Better to do it now, while the taxpayer still has the ability to sign the 2848. The fact that it only lasts three years is sort of ridiculous, but I'll burn that bridge when I come to it. Maybe file a new 2848 with the sign-as-POA option mentioned in my original post above.
HomeStretch
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Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by HomeStretch »

This would be a great BH wiki page if you are willing. I am not a BH wiki editor so I can’t tell you how to make that happen.
Topic Author
meeotch
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:59 am

Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by meeotch »

Thanks - I'm happy to help out, or just turn all the info over to someone who's authorized, if they want to chime in here.

Hopefully, my application just goes through and isn't rejected. Either way, I'll update this thread with results, as well as anything I find out from the IRS online dept.
secondcor521
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Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by secondcor521 »

Thanks for the reply.

At this point I've got enough other POA-like tasks, so as long as things are working OK I think I'll skip it for now.

Good luck to you with your POA stuff.
jms
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Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by jms »

Thank you for assembling this info and posting it -- very helpful! I'm pretty sure I will be needing to do this shortly.
muirwoods
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Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by muirwoods »

Thanks for posting this. I am stuck on (5a) Additional Acts (if you want to be able to sign a return, there's specific language needed here). The IRS regulations permit a representative to sign the return if the person is unable to sign the return due to: "Disease or injury; Continuous absence from the United States (including Puerto Rico) for a period of at least 60 days prior to the date required by law for filing the return; or Other good cause if specific permission is requested of and granted by the IRS."

I am wondering if you saw any info about what would qualify as an "other good cause".

Background: My brother is mentally disabled, receiving 100% of his income from SSDI and I am his Representative Payee for Social Security (I handle his SSDI). He needs to file a 1040 Schedule H each year to pay household employment taxes for a personal support worker. His disability prevents him from understanding how to manage money, or understand or handle tax preparation. Simply put, I am his caregiver and use a POA to manage his household finances and personal affairs, but I am not a legal guardian or conservator.

In preceding years I've mailed his return to him to sign but a) it doesn't feel right having him sign something he might not understand and b) I run the risk of him not mailing it in by the deadline. But it seems to me that it might continue to be the easier path than trying to get an IRS POA that allows me to sign.

Thx.
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FreddieFIRE
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Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by FreddieFIRE »

Great thread. Maybe I can fill in a few blanks. I also have a few questions for others who have walked this road.

I was granted DPOA by an elderly relative entering a nursing home during 2023. While this person is still capable of signing a tax return, they are extremely uncooperative when it comes to signing anything. They also may not be capable at all in another year or two. I read all of the instructions for the IRS 2848 as well as a similar state POA tax form. Since the 2848 itself would need to be signed by me with my "civil POA" (yes, that's how I believe the IRS refers to a normal POA document), I decided to seek the help of an enrolled agent. Could I do it cheaper myself? Probably. I've always done my own taxes and never encountered an issue that I couldn't work through. That said, in this situation I wanted a professional's fingerprints on it. I waited until January of 2024 so that it could be valid thorough 2027. In addition to myself, I also had her name herself as a representative, so that if I run into any problems she will be able to work with the IRS as a representative for the elderly relative. She charged me $125 to prepare and submit both forms. I'm guessing she also sent a copy of my civil POA document, but don't know that for sure. The IRS quickly sent form CP547 that notified me of my CAF (central authorization file) number, allowing me to act as POA for the demented senior. The state sent a confirmation email indicating that the state form had been processed and was on file. They don't assign the equivalent of a CAF #.

Now we're approaching the time to file 2023 tax returns. I've reviewed the 1040 signature instructions and they state:
"If your return is signed by a representative for you, you must have a power of attorney attached that specifically authorizes the representative to sign your return."
Here's where it becomes vague. I am 95% certain, based on my reading of various IRS instructions and discussions on the phone, that this quote is referring to a lawyer prepared DPOA that SPECIFICALLY states that I have been granted power to sign all federal tax forms. My POA just states that it allows me to act for the principal with respect to "tax matters." IOW: if I send that with the 1040, it will likely be DOA. This begs the question of how do I properly sign the 1040?

a) <relative's name> by FreddieFIRE as agent?
b) FreddieFIRE?
c) FreddieFIRE ref: CAF ############?
d) FreddieFIRE with attached copy of 2848 previously submitted and processed? (hopefully they don't treat it as a new submittal)
e) <relative's name> by FreddieFIRE CAF ###########?
f) something else?

Thanks in advance.
A house and a job. Once the American dream. Two things I'll never again have. Life is simple (and good).
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FreddieFIRE
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Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by FreddieFIRE »

I'm still hoping for some input on this. Thanks.
A house and a job. Once the American dream. Two things I'll never again have. Life is simple (and good).
increment
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Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by increment »

FreddieFIRE wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2024 2:19 pm I am 95% certain, based on my reading of various IRS instructions and discussions on the phone, that this quote is referring to a lawyer prepared DPOA that SPECIFICALLY states that I have been granted power to sign all federal tax forms. My POA just states that it allows me to act for the principal with respect to "tax matters." IOW: if I send that with the 1040, it will likely be DOA.
The instructions for form 2848 line 5a say that an agent is authorized to sign the return only for reasons of (a) disease/injury, (b) absence from the US, or (c) some other reason that you've gotten specific permission for. Which are you using? (Also: Who signed the form 2848, you or your relative?)

If they accepted a form 2848 that explicitly authorizes you to sign for your relative, then I would hope that you could go ahead and sign without further paperwork. You might want to include a statement about which reason you are citing.

I submitted form 2848 that I signed for my ill father, using his own PoA that said merely "tax matters" plus my statement that he was too ill to sign for himself. (However, that was over four years ago.)
This begs the question of how do I properly sign the 1040?

a) <relative's name> by FreddieFIRE as agent?
b) FreddieFIRE?
c) FreddieFIRE ref: CAF ############?
d) FreddieFIRE with attached copy of 2848 previously submitted and processed? (hopefully they don't treat it as a new submittal)
e) <relative's name> by FreddieFIRE CAF ###########?
f) something else?
I would try your option "e."
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FreddieFIRE
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Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by FreddieFIRE »

increment wrote: Sat Mar 09, 2024 8:16 pm The instructions for form 2848 line 5a say that an agent is authorized to sign the return only for reasons of (a) disease/injury, (b) absence from the US, or (c) some other reason that you've gotten specific permission for. Which are you using? (Also: Who signed the form 2848, you or your relative?)
I signed the form 2848 as civil POA. It allows me to sign tax returns due to pricipal's disease/injury (dementia).
If they accepted a form 2848 that explicitly authorizes you to sign for your relative, then I would hope that you could go ahead and sign without further paperwork.

That is my assumption as well. This is likely a very common scenario for the IRS.
I would try your option "e."
That makes sense to me. By listing the CAF #, I'm telling them that a 2848 is on file. They would likely only need to confirm that it covers the tax forms/years that I'm signing.

Thanks for your response.
A house and a job. Once the American dream. Two things I'll never again have. Life is simple (and good).
Tracker968
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Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by Tracker968 »

I've been working on this same issue for my mother. Have had two forms returned with minor errors. Just sent in the third one- hope it will be accepted this time.
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FreddieFIRE
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Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by FreddieFIRE »

Tracker968 wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2024 9:21 pm I've been working on this same issue for my mother. Have had two forms returned with minor errors. Just sent in the third one- hope it will be accepted this time.
Do you mind sharing what the errors were? It may be very helpful to others.
A house and a job. Once the American dream. Two things I'll never again have. Life is simple (and good).
Timessquare79
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Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by Timessquare79 »

Freddie Fire, my 2848 was returned because I did not attach a copy of the Civil POA. I am in the same boat as you. Love the Queen avatar.
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FreddieFIRE
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Re: IRS 2848 POA tips and tricks

Post by FreddieFIRE »

Timessquare79 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:32 pm Freddie Fire, my 2848 was returned because I did not attach a copy of the Civil POA. I am in the same boat as you. Love the Queen avatar.
Thanks. That also is how Freddie's name was spelled. 8-) RIP Freddie.

I believe that the EA we hired did send a copy of the civil POA. In general, I've found that federal agencies insist on their own processes that either limit or invalidate legitimate DPOA's drafted in compliance with state laws.
Social Security
Medicare
Military Retirement Pay

I'm sure there are others that I (fortunately) haven't had to arm wrestle with (yet).
A house and a job. Once the American dream. Two things I'll never again have. Life is simple (and good).
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