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Publication 947

Authorizing a Representative(p6)


Words you may need to know (see Glossary)

You may either represent yourself, or you may grant an individual power of attorney (legal authority) to represent you before the IRS. Your representative must be a person eligible to practice 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 act on your behalf in tax matters. If the authorization is not limited, the individual can generally perform all acts that you can perform. The authority granted to an unenrolled preparer cannot exceed that allowed under the special rules of limited practice described in  
Publication 470.

Acts performed.(p7)

Any representative, other than an unenrolled preparer, can usually perform the following acts.
  1. Represent you before any office of the IRS.
  2. Record the interview.
  3. 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.
  4. Sign a consent to extend the statutory time period for assessment or collection of a tax.
  5. Sign a closing agreement.
  6. Receive, but not endorse or cash, a refund check drawn on the U.S. Treasury. You must specifically initial Form 2848 (see Form Required, later) showing the name of the individual designated to receive the refund check.

Signing your return.(p7)

The representative named under a power of attorney is not permitted to sign your personal income tax return unless both of the following are true.
  1. The signature is permitted under the Internal Revenue Code and the related regulations (see section 1.6012-1(a)(5) of the Income Tax Regulations).
  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 for any of the following reasons. 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.

Endorsing or cashing your refund check.(p7)

If you want your representative to receive a refund check on your behalf, you must specifically authorize this in your power of attorney as discussed earlier under Acts performed. However, if your representative is permitted to practice before the IRS, he or she cannot be authorized to endorse or otherwise cash your refund check.

Limitation on substitution or delegation.(p7)

The recognized representative can substitute or delegate authority under the power of attorney to another recognized representative only if the act is specifically authorized under 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 the taxpayer.

Disclosure of returns to a third party.(p7)

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

Incapacity or incompetency.(p7)

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 the Form 2848, or 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?(p7)

Submit a power of attorney when you want to authorize an individual to 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 conference with the IRS.
  2. Prepare and file a written response to the IRS.

Form Required(p7)

Use Form 2848 to appoint a representative to act on your behalf before the IRS. You can file this form only if you want to name a person(s) to represent you and that person is a person recognized to practice before the IRS. Persons recognized to practice 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.(p7)

The IRS will accept a non-IRS power of attorney, but a completed transmittal 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 power of attorney document other than Form 2848, 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 aware of the regulations contained in Treasury Department Circular No. 230 (31 CFR, Part 10) concerning the practice of attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents, enrolled actuaries, and others,
  3. I am authorized to represent the taxpayer(s) identified in the power of attorney; and
  4. I am authorized to practice before the Internal Revenue Service as an individual described in 26 CFR 601.502(b).
Required information missing.(p8)
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.(p8)
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.
The Form 2848 prepared by your attorney-in-fact should be signed in the following manner: "Jane Taxpayer (your name), by John Attorney (your attorney-in-fact's name) under authority of the attached power of attorney."
The individual named as representative on Form 2848 must sign and date Part II of the form. This can be the attorney-in-fact named in the original power of attorney or any other individual recognized to practice before the IRS.


John Elm, a taxpayer, signs a 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.(p8)
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 centralized authorization file. It also enables the IRS to automatically send copies of notices and other IRS communications to your representative.
You can have your non-IRS power of attorney entered on the CAF system by attaching it to a completed transmittal 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(p8)

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.(p8)

The following hints are summaries of some of the line-by-line instructions for Form 2848.
Line 1—Taxpayer information.(p8)
If a joint return is involved and you and your spouse have different addresses, you must enter each address. If you and your spouse choose different representatives, each of you must file a separate Form 2848.
Line 2—Representative(s).(p8)
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 him or her. 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 three representatives, you must attach additional Form(s) 2848. Normally, the IRS will send notices and other written communications to you and a copy to the first representative listed. However, you can choose other options (see line 7 of Form 2848).
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. However, you may include on a power of attorney only future tax periods that end no later than 3 years after the date the power of attorney is received by the IRS. The 3 future periods are determined starting after December 31 of the year the power of attorney is received by the IRS. However, avoid general references such as all years or all periods.
If any column does not apply to your particular tax matter, you should enter "not applicable" in that column and, instead, specifically describe the matter to which the power of attorney pertains.
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.
  1. Requests for a private letter ruling or technical advice.
  2. Applications for an employer identification number (EIN).
  3. Claims filed on Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement.
  4. Corporate dissolutions.
  5. Requests for change of accounting method.
  6. Requests for change of accounting period.
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 line is checked, your representative should bring a copy of the power of attorney to each IRS office where the specific matter will be discussed.

Where To File a Power of Attorney(p9)

Generally, you can mail or fax a paper Form 2848 directly to the IRS. To determine where you should file Form 2848, see the Where To File Chart, below.
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.

Where To File Chart

IF you live in . . .THEN use this address . . .Fax Number*
Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, or West Virginia Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 26, Stop 8423
Memphis, TN 38101-0268
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, or Wyoming Internal Revenue Service
1973 N. Rulon White Blvd. Mail Stop 6737
Ogden, UT 84404
All APO and FPO addresses, American Samoa, nonpermanent residents of Guam or the Virgin Islands**, Puerto Rico (or if excluding income under Internal Revenue Code section 933), a foreign country: U.S. citizens and those filing Form 2555, 2555-EZ, or 4563. Internal Revenue Service
International CAF DP: SW 311
11601 Roosevelt Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19255
* These numbers may change without notice.
**Permanent residents of Guam should use Department of Taxation, Government of Guam, P.O. Box 23607, GMF, GU 96921; permanent residents of the Virgin Islands should use V.I. Bureau of Internal Revenue, 9601 Estate Thomas, Charlotte Amaile, St. Thomas, V.I. 00802.
FAX copies.(p9)
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. See the Where To File Chart for fax numbers of the centers receiving Form 2848.
Your representative may be able to file Form 2848 electronically via the IRS website. For more information, 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.(p9)

You must 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.
Any recognized representative may substitute or delegate authority if the substitution or delegation is specifically authorized 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)

Note.The revocation instructions are the same for taxpayers and representatives.
If you want to revoke an existing power of attorney and do not want to name a new representative, or if a representative wants to withdraw from representation, send a copy of the previously executed power of attorney to the IRS, using the Where To File Chart on page 9. The copy of the power of attorney must have a current signature of the taxpayer if the taxpayer is revoking, or the representative if the representative is withdrawing, under the original signature on line 9. Write "REVOKE" across the top of Form 2848. If you do not have a copy of the power of attorney you want to revoke or withdraw, send a statement to the IRS. The statement of revocation or withdrawal must indicate that the authority of the power of attorney is revoked, list the tax matters and periods, and must be signed and dated by the taxpayer or representative. If the taxpayer is revoking, list the name and address of each recognized representative whose authority is revoked. When the taxpayer is completely revoking authority, the form should state "remove all years/periods" instead of listing the specific tax matters, years, or periods. If the representative is withdrawing, list the name, TIN, and address (if known) of the taxpayer.
To revoke a specific use power of attorney, send the power of attorney or statement of revocation to the IRS office handling your case, using the above instructions.
A power of attorney held by a student of a LITC or a STCP is valid for only 130 days from the received date and will automatically be revoked. If you are authorizing a student to represent you after that time, a second Form 2848 should be filed for valid representation.

When Is a Power of Attorney Not Required?(p10)

A power of attorney is not required in some situations when dealing with the IRS. The following situations do not require a power of attorney. (Each situation will be discussed in more detail following the list.)

Providing information to the IRS.(p10)

If you are merely providing information to the IRS at the request of the IRS, a power of attorney is not required.

Disclosure of tax return information.(p10)

You do not have to file a power of attorney to authorize the IRS to discuss and provide specific confidential tax return information to any individual, corporation, firm, trust, partnership, or organization you designate through the use of Form 8821. You may file your own tax information authorization without using Form 8821, but it must include all the information that is requested on the form.
Form 8821 is strictly a disclosure authorization form and cannot be used to designate an individual to represent you. If you want to name a representative, you should use  
Form 2848.


John Oak wants his associate, Jane Birch, to be informed about his personal tax accounts. To have this information disclosed to Jane, John fills out Form 8821. This is only a disclosure form, so it will not give Jane any power to represent John before the IRS. (The filled-in form is illustrated on the following page.)
Processing Form 8821.(p10)
When you file a Form 8821 with the IRS, it also is processed for entry on the CAF system. Entry on the CAF system enables IRS employees who do not have access to the actual power of attorney or tax information authorization to do all of the following actions.
  1. Determine whether a recognized representative or appointee is authorized to discuss specific confidential tax information.
  2. Determine the extent to which a recognized representative or appointee has been authorized to represent you.
  3. Send copies of notices and other IRS communications to the person (individual or other entity) designated on the form.
Revocation of tax information authorization(s).(p12)
You can revoke any existing authorization with the IRS by writing "REVOKE" across the top of the previously executed Form 8821 and signing your name again under the existing signature. You should send this to the office(s) where you originally filed the Form 8821. If you do not have a copy of the prior tax authorization, send a statement to the IRS. The statement of revocation must indicate that the authority of the appointee is revoked, list the tax matters and periods, and must be signed and dated by you.
Note.The filing of Form 8821 will not revoke any  
Form 2848 that is in effect.

Third party designee.(p12)

If you want to allow an employee of your business, a return preparer, friend, family member, or other third party to discuss your tax return with the IRS, check the "Yes" box in the Third Party Designee area of your return. Also, enter the designee's name, phone number, and any five numbers the designee chooses as his or her personal identification number (PIN).
If you want to allow the paid preparer who signed your return to discuss it with the IRS, just enter "Preparer" in the space for the designee's name. You do not have to provide the other information requested.
By checking the "Yes" box, you are authorizing the IRS to call the designee to answer any questions relating to the information reported on your tax return. You are also authorizing the designee to:
You are not authorizing the designee to receive any refund check, bind you to anything (including additional tax liability), or otherwise represent you before the IRS. If you want to expand the designee's authority, see When is a Power of Attorney Required, earlier.
Revoking the third party designee authorization.(p12)
The authorization will automatically expire one year from the due date (without regard to extensions) for filing your tax return. If you or your designee wants to revoke this authorization, send a written statement of revocation to the Internal Revenue Service Center at the address where you filed your return. The statement of revocation must indicate that the authority of the designee is revoked, list the tax return, and must be signed and dated by the taxpayer or designee.

Tax matters partner or person (TMP).(p12)

If you are a tax matters partner or person (TMP) (as defined in section 6231(a)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code), you are not required to file Form 2848. You are authorized to perform various acts on behalf of the partnership or subchapter S corporation. This may include the power to delegate authority to represent yourself and to sign documents in that capacity.
The following are examples of acts you can perform as a TMP. These acts cannot be delegated to another representative.


If you are a fiduciary (trustee, executor, administrator, receiver, or guardian) of a taxpayer, you are deemed to be the taxpayer. For this reason you are not required to file a power of attorney. However, a fiduciary should file Form 56, Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship, to notify the IRS of the fiduciary relationship.
Note.If you, as a fiduciary, wish to authorize an individual to represent or perform certain acts on your behalf, you must file a power of attorney authorizing that individual to act on your behalf.

Nonwritten consents.(p12)

The IRS is allowed to discuss with a third party designee, tax return or return information after receiving your nonwritten (oral) consent. Under this temporary regulation, the IRS is permitted to disclose information to any person accompanying you to a meeting, interview, or participating with you, in a telephone conversation with the IRS. Before any disclosure of information, the IRS must verify the following.
Note.Like Form 8821, a nonwritten consent cannot be used to designate an individual to represent you. If you want to name a representative, you must use Form 2848.

How Do I Fill Out Form 2848?(p12)

The following example illustrates how to complete Form 2848. The completed form is shown on the next pages.


Stan and Mary Doe have been notified that their joint tax return (Form 1040) for 2006 is being examined. They have decided to appoint Jim Smith, an enrolled agent, to represent them in this matter and any future matters concerning the return. Jim, who has prepared returns at the same location for years, already has a Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number assigned to him. Stan and Mary do not want Jim to sign any agreements, pay additional taxes, or receive any refund checks. 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 complete one Form 2848 as follows.
taxmap/pubs/p947-001.htm#en_us_publink1000148683 taxmap/pubs/p947-001.htm#en_us_publink1000148684

Line 1—Taxpayer information.(p13)

They enter their names, street address, and social security numbers in the spaces provided.

Line 2—Representative(s).(p13)

They enter the name and current address of their chosen representative, Jim Smith. 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.(p13)

They enter "income" for the type of tax, "1040" for the form number, and "2006" for the tax year.

Line 4—Specific use not recorded on Centralized Authorization File (CAF).(p13)

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

Line 5—Acts authorized.(p13)

Stan and Mary want to sign any agreement that reflects changes to their 2006 income tax liability, so they restrict the acts Mr. Smith is authorized to perform by writing "taxpayers must sign any agreement form" on line 5. If they had chosen, they could have listed other restrictions on line 5.

Line 6—Receipt of refund checks.(p13)

They make no entry on line 6 because they want any refund checks sent directly to them.

Line 7—Notices and communications.(p13)

Stan and Mary make no entry on line 7 because they want the original notices and communications sent to them, and the copies sent to Mr. Smith.

Line 8—Retention/revocation of prior power(s) of attorney.(p13)

Stan and Mary are filing their first power 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 automatically revoke any earlier ones for the same tax matter(s). Therefore, to retain an earlier power of attorney, they would need to have checked the box on line 8 and attached a copy of the prior power of attorney that they wanted to remain in effect.
If Stan and Mary decide later that they can handle the examination on their own, they can revoke the power of attorney. (See Revocation of Power of Attorney/Withdrawal of Representative, earlier, for the special rules that apply.)

Line 9—Signature of taxpayer(s).(p13)

This is a joint authorization (see line 1), so both Stan and Mary must sign and date the form. If they do not, the IRS cannot accept it.

Part II—Declaration of Representative.(p13)

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?(p13)

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.

Processing and Handling(p13)

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

Incomplete document.(p13)

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.(p13)

If the power of attorney is complete and valid, the IRS will then take action to recognize the representative. In most instances, this involves processing the document on the CAF system. Recording the data on the CAF system enables the IRS to automatically direct copies of mailings to authorized representatives and to instantly recognize the scope of authority granted.
Documents not processed on CAF.(p13)
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. If it is checked, 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 have a recognized representative, you and the representative will receive notices and other correspondence from the IRS (either the original or a copy), unless you checked box (b) on line 7 of Form 2848 or placed a similar restriction on your authorization of a representative (power of attorney). If the power of attorney is processed on the CAF system, the IRS will send your representative(s) a duplicate of all computer-generated correspondence that is sent to you. This includes notices and letters produced either at the Martinsburg Computing Center, or other IRS centers. The IRS employee handling the case is responsible for ensuring that the original and any requested copies of each manually-generated correspondence are sent to you and your representative(s) in accordance with your authorization.