The IRS is unable to process Forms 8655, Reporting Agent Authorization, until further notice due to COVID-19 mitigation actions. See this Update for Reporting Agents for full details and recommended actions.
Reporting Agents have long served an important role in our nation's tax collection system as a conduit between employers and the IRS. Reporting Agents improve the efficiency of IRS tax collection and compliance. Reporting Agents assist employers in making required tax deposits and tax information filings to the federal government and to state and local governments.
Definition - Reporting Agents (RAs) are companies (not individuals) that perform payroll services for other businesses. RAs adhere to guidelines in Revenue Procedure 2012-32 (formerly Revenue Procedure 2007-38), Revenue Procedure 2007-40 (formerly Revenue Procedure 2005-60), and Publication 1474, Technical Specifications Guide For Reporting Agent Authorization and Federal Tax Depositors (PDF).
Authority - The service has prescribed Form 8655, Reporting Agent Authorization (PDF), as the appropriate authorization for use by a taxpayer to designate a reporting agent to perform one or more of the following acts on behalf of a taxpayer:
- File and sign certain tax returns, electronically where required by Revenue Procedure 2012-32.
- Make federal tax deposits (FTDs) and other federal tax payments (FTPs), including using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System ( EFTPS).
- Submit FTD and FTP information, including to EFTPS.
- Receive duplicate copies of official notices, correspondence, deposit requirements, transcripts or certain other information.
The person signing the Form 8655 must be someone who has authority to legally bind the corporation, partnership or sole proprietor entity.
A reporting agent authorization may co-exist with Form 2848, Powers of Attorney (PDF) and/or Form 8821, Tax Information Authorizations (PDF), which are recorded on the Centralized Authorization File (CAF).
Records Maintenance - The Reporting Agent File (RAF) is a database that contains reporting agent and taxpayer/client records. The RAF Function is located in the Ogden Campus.
Withdrawal/ Revocation - A reporting agent can withdraw their authorities by filing a statement with the IRS or by using the delete process.
The receipt of a new Form 8655 revokes a prior reporting agent authorization beginning with the period indicated on the new Form 8655. If the authorization included receipt of IRS communications, the prior RA will no longer receive copies of communications sent to the taxpayer; however, they are still an authorized reporting agent and retain any previously granted disclosure authority from their beginning periods through the beginning period of the new reporting agent authorization, unless those prior authorizations have been specifically revoked or withdrawn.
Withdrawal or revocation of a reporting agent authorization does not affect Powers of Attorney or Tax Information Authorizations which are recorded on the CAF.
Substitute Form 8655 - An approved substitute Form 8655 may be utilized by RAs. Prior to use, all substitute Forms 8655 must be approved by the Office of Tax Forms and Publications as outlined in the Form 8655 specifications in Publication 1167, General Rules and Specifications for Substitute Forms and Schedules. The 20-day assumed approval policy for most substitute forms does not apply to Form 8655. The RAF Function does not have the authority to approve, even temporarily, substitute Forms 8655.
Mergers/Take Overs/Buy Outs - When a company/RA is involved in a merger, take over or buy out, the new company/RA may request that the service determine whether new Forms 8655 will be required. The RA may submit copies of the implementing documents for the purchase or acquisition to the RAF Function, who will facilitate a ruling by IRS Counsel. Because of the complexity of these situations, the determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis. Most organizational changes will require the filing of new Forms 8655.
- Form 8655, Reporting Agent Authorization (PDF)
- Revenue Procedure 2012-32
- Publication 1474, Technical Specifications Guide For Reporting Agent Authorization and Federal Tax Depositors (PDF)
- Reporting Agent File (RAF) Tips and Tricks
- Publication 4019, Third Party Authorization, Levels of Authority (PDF)
- Third Party Arrangement Chart
- Revenue Procedure 2005-60
- Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and Participation (PDF)
- News from RAF -- IRS online e-Services Available to Reporting Agents (including Transcript Delivery System (TDS))
- Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)
- Revenue Procedure 2012-33 (PDF)
- Revenue Procedure 97-33 (PDF)
- Publication 4169, Tax Professional Guide to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (PDF)
Revenue Procedure 2009-17 (Substitute Forms Approval)