13.1.23 Taxpayer Representation

Manual Transmittal

June 06, 2019

Purpose

(1) This section transmits a new section and table of contents for IRM 13.1.23, Taxpayer Advocate Case Procedures, Taxpayer Representation.

Material Changes

(1) Taxpayer Representation serves as a reference for procedures when dealing with a taxpayer appointed representative. It acts as a guide to actions needed when a Power of Attorney, Taxpayer Information Authorization or Oral Disclosure Consent is given to a third party.

Effect on Other Documents

This IRM clarifies procedures when dealing with a taxpayer representative and supplements guidelines found in IRM 13.1.10.3, Disclosure Issues and Taxpayer Authentication.

Audience

Primarily Taxpayer Advocate Service employees and all Operating Divisions and Functions.

Effective Date

(06-06-2019)

Bridget Roberts
Deputy National Taxpayer Advocate

Program Scope and Objectives

  1. Purpose: This section provides instructions and procedural guidance to Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Employees who are working TAS cases, as they work with taxpayer representatives. It is also designed to encourage TAS employees to consider the issues from the taxpayer’s perspective and act with empathy as they work to resolve the taxpayer’s case.

  2. Audience: These procedures apply to TAS employees dealing with taxpayers’ representatives.

  3. Policy Owner: The Executive Director Case Advocacy, Intake and Technical Support (EDCA-ITS), who is under the Deputy National Taxpayer Advocate (DNTA).

  4. Program Owner: The Director, Technical Analysis and Guidance(TAG), who is under the EDCA-ITS.

Background

  1. Per Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 7803(a)(3), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees must be familiar with and act in accordance with the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR), which includes the taxpayer’s right to retain representation.

  2. Taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized representative of their choice to represent them before the IRS, in dealings with the IRS, by executing a valid Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representation. Taxpayers have the right to seek assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) if they cannot afford representation.

  3. Taxpayers also have the right to execute other valid and commonly used forms of third-party authorizations by signing the required document or providing an oral statement made by the taxpayer. The taxpayer can grant specific authorities to a third party by using the required forms.

Authority

  1. Pursuant to IRC § 7803(c), the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate (known as the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)) assists taxpayers to resolve problems with the IRS.

  2. IRC § 7803(a)(3), Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service; other officials, provides the law enacted by Congress, that charges the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service with ensuring that all IRS employees are familiar with and act in accordance with all ten of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR), which includes the taxpayers Right to Retain Representation.

  3. 31 USC 330, Practice before the Department, provides the statutory basis for the regulation of representatives who practice before the Department of the Treasury, including the IRS which is an agency within Treasury.

  4. Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice before the Internal Revenue Service, provides the overall authority for a tax professional’s duties and obligations while representing taxpayers or otherwise practicing before the IRS. The Circular 230 regulations authorize specific sanctions for violations of any of the Circular’s requirements and restrictions. It describes the procedures that apply to administrative disciplinary proceedings.

  5. Rev. Proc. 2014-42 prescribes the standards of conduct, the scope of authority, and the conditions under which an individual preparer of tax returns may exercise, without enrollment, the privilege of limited practice as a taxpayer’s representative before the IRS.

Responsibilities

  1. TAS employees must respect, support, and vigorously protect taxpayers’ fundamental right to retain representation.

  2. TAS managers are responsible for ensuring TAS Employees within their purview are following the procedures contained in this IRM.

Programs Objectives and Review

  1. Reports to monitor the quality of TAS cases including the proper treatment of taxpayer representatives are derived from TAMIS and the TAS Case Quality Review System (CQRS).

    • The CQRS generates monthly, quarterly, and fiscal year cumulative reports as well as specific queries for data analysis.

Terms

  1. Exhibit 13.1.23-2 contains a list of terms used throughout this IRM.

Acronyms
  1. Exhibit 13.1.23-3 contains a list of acronyms and their definitions used throughout this IRM.

Related Resources

  1. This is a list of relevant IRMs TAS case advocacy employees will use in conjunction with this IRM:

    • IRM 1.2.52.19, Delegation Order 25-18 (Rev-2)

    • IRM 1.25.1.1, Practice before the IRS Overview

    • IRM 4.11.55.2.2, Rules of Practice

    • IRM 11.3.38.5.1, Reporting Non-willful Inadvertent Disclosures of Sensitive Information

    • IRM 13.1.10.3, Disclosure Issues and Taxpayer Authentication

    • IRM 13.1.2.4, Third Party Contacts

    • IRM 13.1.5.8.1, Standard Disclosure

    • IRM 13.1.5.8.3, Nonstandard Disclosure

    • IRM 13.1.18.3(8), Initial Contact

    • IRM 13.1.18.6.1, Reviewing and Requesting Information from Taxpayer

    • IRM 13.4.5.2.2.1, POA Screen

    • IRM 21.1.3.2, General Disclosure Guidelines

    • IRM 21.1.3.3, Third Party (POA/TIA/F706) Authentication

    • IRM 21.1.3.3.1, Third Party Designee Authentication

    • IRM 21.1.3.3.2, Oral Disclosure Consent/Oral TIA (Paperless F8821)

    • IRM 21.1.4, Other Third Party Inquiries

    • IRM 21.3.7.10.2, Processing a Revocation/Withdrawal

    • IRM 25.24.1, Return Preparer Misconduct, Victim Assistance – General Overview

Taxpayer’s Right to Retain Representation

  1. The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) has long since advocated that the IRS establish a TBOR. In June 2014, the IRS adopted the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR) - a set of ten fundamental rights that taxpayers should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. See IR-2014-72 (June 10, 2014). One of those ten rights is the right to retain representation, which gives taxpayer the right to retain an authorized representative of their choice to represent them in their dealings with the IRS. In addition, taxpayers have the right to seek assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) if they cannot afford representation and meet the eligibility requirements. In December 2015, Congress enacted IRC § 7803(a)(3), which requires the Commissioner to ensure that employees of the IRS are familiar with and act in accord with taxpayer rights, including the right to retain representation. See Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, Pub. L. No. 114-113, Division Q, § 401, 129 Stat. 2242, 3117 (Dec. 18, 2015).

  2. Congress has reinforced a taxpayer’s right to retain representation in several Internal Revenue Code (IRC) provisions, including:

    • IRC § 7430 (Allowing taxpayers to recover certain reasonable administrative and litigation costs, including fees for attorneys’ services);

    • IRC § 7521(c) (Providing that a taxpayer has a right to representation during IRS interviews);

    • IRC § 7526 (Authorizing grants for LITCs which represent taxpayers in controversies with the IRS); and

    • IRC § 7811 (Defining “significant hardship” with reference to the significant costs associated with the fees for representation).

  3. TAS employees must respect, support, and vigorously protect this fundamental taxpayer right. Representation helps both taxpayers and the IRS resolve disputes. In addition, taxpayers’ representatives also play an important role in obtaining fair and equal treatment of taxpayers and protecting their rights.

  4. The following list includes various ways in which TAS employees can protect the right to retain representation:

    • Educate taxpayers about their right to retain representation;

    • Recognize and distinguish among the various types of valid disclosure authorizations, including Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, oral disclosure consent, and third party designee. In addition, TAS employees must understand the scope of authority that the taxpayer authorizes. These third party authorizations are detailed in IRM 13.1.23.3;

    • Provide information to taxpayers about accessing LITCs, as detailed in IRS Pub 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List; and

    • Only in rare circumstances, intervene in the taxpayer / representative relationship, as discussed in IRM 13.1.23.7, Power of Attorney Bypass.

Practitioner Duties to Clients

  1. When interacting with representatives, TAS employees must be mindful that representatives have responsibilities to their clients. The IRS has established numerous duties for practitioner. Duties to clients are found in Subparts B and C of Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice before the Internal Revenue Service and in IRM 4.11.55.2.2, Rules of Practice.

  2. Duties of a practitioner include, but are not limited to:

    1. A practitioner who knows his or her client has not complied with the revenue laws, or has made an error or omission in any return, document, affidavit, or other required paper, has the responsibility to promptly advise the client of the noncompliance, error or omission, and the consequences of that noncompliance, error or omission. Circular 230, § 10.21.

    2. A practitioner may not unreasonably delay the prompt disposition of any matter before the IRS. Circular 230, § 10.23.

    3. A practitioner must not charge unconscionable fees (i.e., fees that are not reasonable in relation to the time and effort needed to perform the act). Circular 230, § 10.27.

    4. A practitioner must not engage in false advertising or use client funds in an improper manner or for an improper reason. Circular 230, §§ 10.30 and 10.51(a)(8).

    5. A practitioner, or any firm or other entity with whom the practitioner is associated, may not endorse or negotiate a taxpayer's refund check or receive a taxpayer's refund via direct deposit into an account owned or controlled by the practitioner or a firm or other entity associated with the practitioner. Circular 230, § 10.31.

    6. A tax advisor should provide clients with the highest quality representation concerning Federal tax issues by adhering to best practices in providing advice and in preparing or assisting in the preparation of a submission to the IRS. Circular 230, § 10.33.

  3. Depending on the type of practitioner, he or she may also be governed by other rules of professional conduct. For example, attorneys are bound by state bar professional rules of conduct and certified public accountants (CPAs) are bound by state licensing agency ethical rules.

  4. The Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) administers and enforces the regulations governing practice before the IRS.

  5. OPR's responsibilities include making determinations on applications for special appearance authorizations, as detailed in IRM 13.1.23.4.9 (except for special appearance authorizations for students and law graduates at LITCs and Student Tax Clinic Programs (STCPs) as detailed in IRM 13.1.23.4.6), and administering rules governing practitioner conduct and discipline.

  6. If a TAS employee has concerns about a representative’s conduct, see IRM 13.1.23.5 , TAS Concerns about Representatives.

Practitioner Duties to IRS/TAS

  1. All individuals authorized to practice before the IRS must adhere to a professional code of conduct. See Circular 230, 31 C.F.R. Part 10; Pub 947, Practice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney, for a discussion of the rules governing practice by an authorized individual.

  2. A practitioner's duties to the IRS are found in Subparts B and C of Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice before the Internal Revenue Service. These duties include, but are not limited to:

    • Providing information on request, Circular 230 § 10.20;

    • Exercising due diligence as to the accuracy of information provided, Circular 230 § 10.22;

    • Providing prompt disposition of pending matters, Circular 230 § 10.23;

    • Filing and paying taxes timely, Circular 230 § 10.51; and

    • Refraining from engaging in disreputable conduct, Circular 230 § 10.51.

  3. A practitioner who does not comply with the rules of practice, or engages in disreputable conduct is subject to disciplinary action. Circular 230, 31 C.F.R. Part 10, Subpart C.

  4. If a TAS employee has concerns about a representative’s conduct, see IRM 13.1.23.6, TAS Concerns about Representatives.

General Disclosure Rules

  1. Taxpayers have the right to request assistance from a third party when dealing with tax matters and the IRS. The general rule of disclosure is that returns and return information cannot be disclosed by IRS employees except as authorized by IRC § 6103 or by another section of the Internal Revenue Code. Also see IRM 21.1.3.2, General Disclosure Guidelines for additional information. Taxpayers may, however, authorize the IRS to disclose their returns and return information to a designated person or entity.

  2. Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) employees must be able to recognize and distinguish among the various types of valid disclosure authorizations, including powers of attorney (Form 2848), tax information authorizations (Form 8821), oral disclosure consents, and third party designees. In addition, TAS employees must understand the scope of authority that the taxpayer authorizes. These third party authorizations are detailed in IRM 13.1.23.3.1.

  3. TAS employees should have a firm understanding of the rules and regulations governing representation before the IRS. TAS employees should ensure taxpayers know there is a difference between what constitutes practice before the IRS, as authorized by the Form 2848, and the exchange of information as permitted by Form 8821. Circular 230, contains the rules governing practice before the IRS. Similarly, taxpayers should be advised of the limits of oral disclosure consent.

  4. TAS employees must take all necessary safeguards to confirm that any person with whom they are dealing, other than the taxpayer, is properly authorized to receive the protected federal tax information. A TAS employee who makes a willful unauthorized disclosure may be subject to criminal penalties under IRC § 7213 and IRC § 7213A, and may also be discharged from employment.

  5. Inadvertent Disclosure to Unauthorized Third Party: TAS employees who make an inadvertent disclosure of federal tax information to an unauthorized third party must notify their manager of the incident. See IRM 11.3.38.5.1, Reporting Non-willful Inadvertent Disclosures of Sensitive Information, for more information. In addition to the reporting requirement to the employee’s manager, inadvertent unauthorized disclosures of sensitive but unclassified (SBU) data, including personally identifiable information (PII) and tax information, are reported to Privacy, Government Liaison and Disclosure/Incident Management (PGLD/IM) via the PII Breach Reporting Form. See IRM 10.5.4, Privacy and Information Protection, Incident Management Program and the Data Protection page in the Disclosure and Privacy Knowledge Base Site at https://portal.ds.irsnet.gov/sites/vl003/lists/reportlossestheftsdisclosures/landingview.aspx for additional information and reporting procedures.

Third Party Authorizations

  1. Taxpayers have the right to give the IRS authorization to discuss their tax matters with a third party. These authorizations may be in the form of a document signed by the taxpayer or through an oral statement designating the third party to exchange, receive, and inspect the taxpayer's return and return information. The taxpayer may also grant third party individuals who are eligible to practice before the IRS the authority to perform, on behalf of the taxpayer, specified acts relating to specific tax matters for specified periods.

    Note:

    Third party authorizations differ from third party contacts under IRC § 7602(c). See IRM 21.3.11.9.1, Third Party Authorization and IRM 13.1.10.3.3, Notice of Third Party Contacts.

  2. Four types of third party disclosure authorizations are:

    1. Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative: The taxpayer can appoint an individual authorized to practice before the IRS to represent him or her on any IRS-related matter by submitting a signed Form 2848. The appointment of a representative on a Form 2848 includes the taxpayer’s authorization for the representative to receive and inspect the taxpayer’s returns and return information for the matters specified on the form. See IRM 13.1.23.3.1.1.

    2. Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization: A taxpayer can authorize the IRS to disclose confidential information to a person or entity by submitting a signed Form 8821. See IRM 13.1.23.3.1.2.

    3. Oral Disclosure Consent: A taxpayer may also authorize oral disclosure to a designated person by means of an “oral disclosure consent.” A designated person may include an interpreter when language barriers exist for the purpose of facilitating the oral disclosure between the IRS and the taxpayer. See IRM 13.1.23.3.1.3.

    4. Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return.

    5. Third Party Designee: The taxpayer may designate a “third party designee” on the tax return by checking the box on the face of the Form 1040 and providing the name, phone number, and personal identification number (PIN) for a third party whom the IRS may contact to answer any questions that may arise during the processing of the taxpayer’s return. This authority is described in detail in the Form 1040 Instructions. IRM 13.1.23.3.1.4.

    Note:

    Documentation other than Form 2848 or Form 8821 may be accepted as long as it contains the same information contained in those forms.

  3. All third party authorizations allow the third party to discuss the taxpayer’s tax matters to some extent with TAS employees. Third party authorizations can be similar or different in these ways:

    1. the type of authority granted to the third party;

    2. who can exercise the authority;

    3. how the authority is granted; and

    4. how the authority is terminated.

    To help differentiate among the types of third party authorizations, see Exhibit 13.1.23-1., Types of Third Party Authorizations.

Authority Granted by Power of Attorney (Form 2848 and Other Comparable Documents)
  1. Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, allows the taxpayer to appoint an individual to act on the taxpayer's behalf. It also specifies that those acts will be binding on the taxpayer. The individual so authorized must be eligible to practice before the IRS with respect to the tax matter at issue. The appointed representative and the Form 2848 are both often referred to as a Power of Attorney (POA).

  2. The IRS will accept a power of attorney other than Form 2848, such as a durable Power of Attorney, provided the document satisfies the requirements for a Power of Attorney pursuant to 26 C.F.R. § 601.503(a). See Publication 216, Conference and Practice Requirements. The IRS will only record the named individual on the Centralized Authorization File (CAF) if a Form 2848 is attached. The taxpayer does not need to sign the attached Form 2848 if the taxpayer signed the document, but the representative must sign the Declaration of Representative on the attached Form 2848. See 26 C.F.R. § 601.503(b)(2), which you can locate in Publication 216. If a taxpayer and spouse (or former spouse) are submitting powers of attorney with respect to a joint tax return, they each must submit separate Forms 2848 even if they are authorizing the same representative to represent them in their dealings with TAS.

  3. Types of Authorized Representatives: In order to be listed as a representative on a Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, an individual must be one of the below listed designations:

    1. Attorney in good standing of the bar of the highest court of the jurisdiction listed.

    2. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed to practice and active in the jurisdiction listed.

    3. Enrolled Agent (EA): enrolled by the IRS per the requirements of Circular 230.

    4. Officer of the taxpayer corporation or general partner of the partnership.

    5. Full-time employee of the taxpayer.

    6. Family member of the taxpayer: a member of the taxpayer’s immediate family, including spouse, parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, step-parent, step-child, brother, or sister.

    7. EA enrolled by the Joint Board of Enrollment of Actuaries (Limited practice before the IRS, as detailed by Circular 230 § 10.3(d)).

    8. Unenrolled return preparer with an Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Record of Completion who prepared and signed the return or claim for refund and has a valid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) (Limited practice before the IRS). For returns prepared after December 31, 2015, only AFSP Record of Completion holders are permitted to engage in limited practice by representing the taxpayer before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service, relating to an examination of a return of the taxpayer that the AFSP Record of Completion holder prepared. All other unenrolled return preparers are not authorized to practice before the IRS on matters related to returns prepared after December 31, 2015. See Rev. Proc. 2014-42. For returns prepared before 2016, unenrolled return preparers may engage in limited practice before the IRS, if the preparer prepared and signed the tax return under examination and is not otherwise ineligible under Rev. Proc. 81-38 to practice before the IRS.

      Note:

      An unenrolled return preparer can provide information to TAS on the taxpayer’s behalf and can accompany the taxpayer to a meeting with TAS, but the unenrolled return preparer is not viewed as the taxpayer’s representative except if the preparer meets the requirements for limited practice described above.

    9. Student who receives permission to represent taxpayers before the IRS by virtue of working in an LITC or STCP.

    10. Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA) enrolled under the requirements of Circular 230 (Limited practice before the IRS, as detailed in Circular 230 § 10.3(e)).

    Note:

    Individuals under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS, pursuant to Circular 230§ 10.50, cannot be designated as a taxpayer's power of attorney.

  4. The POA is authorized to perform the following specified acts with respect to tax matters described on Form 2848 (or a substitution of Form 2848) unless the act is practice before the IRS and such practice is limited pursuant to Circular 230 § 10.3, Rev. Proc. 81-38, orRev. Proc. 2014-42, as applicable.

    1. Represent the taxpayer at conferences, hearings or meetings with all IRS functions (including TAS);

    2. Zealously advocate the taxpayer’s position with regard to federal tax laws;

    3. Debate facts and dispute the manner in which the IRS applies the law;

    4. Sign IRS agreements, waivers, consents, or other documents (e.g. agreements or waivers to an examination report, statute extension forms, etc.) on the taxpayer's behalf;

    5. Prepare and file documents with the IRS on the taxpayer's behalf;

    6. Receive documents from the IRS;

    7. Correspond and communicate with the IRS regarding the taxpayer’s rights, privileges, or liabilities; and

    8. Inspect and receive confidential information for specified tax matters and tax periods.

    Note:

    Special rules apply regarding the acts an unenrolled return preparer can perform on behalf of the taxpayer. See Pub 947 for details.

  5. A POA may also be authorized to do the following, but only if these actions are specifically delegated to the POA on Form 2848, line 5a:

    1. Substitute another representative or add additional representatives;

    2. Sign returns under limited circumstances as specified in Treas. Reg. § 1.6012-1(a)(5); and

    3. Execute a request to allow disclosure of return or return information to another third party.

    Note:

    The taxpayer can also specify any other acts the POA may perform on his or her behalf with respect to tax matters listed on the Form 2848 (or a substitution of Form 2848).

  6. A POA is never allowed to endorse or negotiate a taxpayer's refund check or receive a taxpayer's refund via direct deposit into an account owned or controlled by the representative. Circular 230, § 10.31.

  7. In general, TAS employees shall communicate with the authorized representative when a Form 2648 is on file. But see IRM 13.1.23.7, Power of Attorney Bypass for the extremely rare circumstances where TAS employees can bypass representatives. See also IRM 13.1.23.8, Direct Taxpayer Contact When Valid POA on File , for situations when you may communicate with the taxpayer with the representative’s permission.

  8. If a taxpayer and spouse (or former spouse) are submitting powers of attorney with respect to a joint tax return, they must each submit separate Forms 2848 even if they are authorizing the same representative to represent them in their dealings with TAS.

  9. There may be times when TAS employees will interact with a representative without needing a Form 2848. For example, suppose a representative contacts TAS on behalf of the taxpayer and wants TAS to open a case for the taxpayer. The representative faxes in documents to TAS but no case is open yet. A TAS employee can listen to what the representative has to say as part of the information gathering process necessary to determine whether it is appropriate to open a case without needing a Form 2848. But the minute the representative tries to advocate on behalf of the taxpayer to convince TAS to take any action on the taxpayer’s account, a Form 2848 is needed. Or to the extent a TAS employee would need to disclose the taxpayer’s return information to the representative, a Form 2848 is needed.

Authority Granted by Tax Information Authorization (Form 8821)
  1. It is important to understand the difference between when a taxpayer designates a third party to request and receive returns and return information, and when a taxpayer designates a third party to act as the taxpayer’s representative. Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, allows the taxpayer to authorize any individual, corporation, firm, or partnership designated by the taxpayer to inspect or receive confidential information in any IRS office (including TAS) for the type of tax and tax periods listed on the Form 8821. The authorized individual or entity is referred to as the designee or appointee.

  2. The designee or appointee may:

    1. Inspect and receive confidential information for specified tax matters and tax periods;

    2. Receive copies of returns and notices;

    3. Receive verbal or written account information (e.g., account transcripts) from IRS employees; and

    4. Provide information to IRS employees.

  3. The designee or appointee is not allowed to:

    1. Represent the taxpayer at conferences, hearings or meetings with all IRS functions (including TAS);

    2. Advocate the taxpayer’s position with regard to federal tax laws;

    3. Debate facts and dispute the manner in which the IRS applies the law;

    4. Sign IRS agreements, waivers, consents, or other documents (e.g. agreements or waivers to an examination report, statute extension forms, etc.) on the taxpayer's behalf;

    5. Prepare and file documents with the IRS on the taxpayer's behalf;

    6. Correspond and communicate with the IRS regarding the taxpayer’s rights, privileges, or liabilities; or

    7. Endorse or negotiate a taxpayer's refund check or receive a taxpayer's refund via direct deposit into an account owned or controlled by the designee or appointee.

Authority Granted by Oral Disclosure Consent
  1. Treas. Reg. § 301.6103(c)-1 authorizes IRS employees to accept a taxpayer’s verbal consent to disclose return information to parties assisting the taxpayer in resolving a Federal tax matter. The regulation also clarifies that the taxpayer can verbally approve IRS disclosures to someone accompanying the taxpayer at in-person meetings with the IRS, or participating in a telephone conversation between the taxpayer and the IRS. It is not necessary for the taxpayer to stay in the room or on the telephone after giving verbal authorization to disclose return information, nor does the designee have to be present or on the telephone when the taxpayer gives consent. An oral disclosure consent may arise when:

    • A third party accompanies the taxpayer to a TAS meeting;

    • A conference call is held between the taxpayer, third party, and TAS employee; or

    • A taxpayer wants a third party to interpret, translate, or facilitate communication between TAS and the taxpayer.

  2. An oral disclosure consent does not authorize a third party to represent the taxpayer before the IRS. If a taxpayer wants to appoint an individual to advocate on his or her behalf, the individual must be qualified to practice before the IRS and Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative must be used to make the appointment.

  3. If a taxpayer provides a TAS employee with an oral disclosure consent, confirm whether the taxpayer wants TAS to continue to communicate with the designated third party until the tax matter is resolved. Inform the taxpayer that all relevant tax return information may be disclosed to the authorized third party in order to resolve the tax issue.

  4. Document the oral disclosure consent in TAMIS with the following information:

    • The date of the oral disclosure consent;

    • The scope of the disclosure (i.e., the specific tax issues);

    • Whether the taxpayer indicated that TAS should continue to communicate with the designated third party until the tax matter is resolved, as detailed above;

    • The first and last name of the designated third party;

    • The designated third party phone number; and

    • The master file tax (MFT) and tax period(s) authorized to disclose to the third party.

    Note:

    Add a history item on IDRS as indicated in IRM 21.1.3.3.2(5), Oral Disclosure Consent/Oral TIA (Paperless F8821)

    .

  5. On occasion, taxpayers may bring other individuals with them when meeting with TAS. Their presence does not establish implied consent by the taxpayer that can be honored by TAS. TAS employees must obtain a written or oral consent prior to discussing confidential tax matters before these individuals, even when the taxpayer is present.

Third Party Designee
  1. A taxpayer may authorize the IRS to discuss a particular return with a designated individual if the “Yes” box in the third party designee area of the tax return is checked and the required information is provided. Individual and business taxpayers can designate a third party designee. The purpose of the Third Party Designee Authorization is to make it easier for taxpayers to resolve tax return processing problems by giving the IRS permission to discuss return preparation, refund and payment issues with a paid preparer or Third Party Designee.

  2. As provided in the instructions to the returns in the Form 1040 series, this authorization allows the designee to:

    1. give the IRS information missing from that particular tax return;

    2. call the IRS for information about the processing of that particular taxpayer's return, including the status of a refund or payment;

    3. receive copies of notices or transcripts related to that particular tax return, upon request; or

    4. respond to IRS notices the taxpayer has shared with the designee relating to math errors, offsets, and return preparation of that particular tax return.

  3. The authorization allows the IRS to call the designee to answer any questions that arise during the processing of that particular tax return. It does not give the designee the right to obtain information from the IRS in the context of an audit, collection, or other compliance activity.

    Example:

    Taxpayer files the 2016 tax return timely and the IRS Affordable Care ACT (ACA) Verification System (AVS) indicates that the taxpayer receieved Advance Premium Tax Credti (APTC) during 2016 but did not file Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit (PTC). The IRS issues Letter 12C, Individual Return Incomplete for Processing: Forms 1040, 1040A &1040EZ, and holds the return in an Error Resolution/Rejected Returns unit pending a response. The third party designee named on the 2016 tax return can discuss the issues raised in the Letter 12C and provide any information necessary to resolve the matter. However, the designee does not have the authority to discuss the matter once the return is referred to Exam

  4. The designee cannot receive a taxpayer's refund check or have it direct deposited into his or her account, bind the taxpayer to an agreement, or represent the taxpayer before the IRS.

  5. The authorization of a designee automatically expires one year after the due date (without regard to extensions) of the return in question.

    Example:

    An individual checks the box to appoint a third party designee on the 2013 Form 1040 filed with an extension to October 15, 2014. The designation will expire on April 15, 2015 because the return was due on April 15, 2014, without regard to the extension.

Practice Before the IRS/TAS

  1. Practice before the IRS encompasses all matters connected with presentation to the IRS or any of its personnel relating to a taxpayer’s rights, privileges, or tax liabilities, including:

    • Corresponding and communicating with the IRS;

    • Representing the taxpayer at conferences, hearings, and meetings. 26 C.F.R. § 601.501(b)(10);

    • Advocating for the taxpayer and disputing proposed adjustments;

    • Preparing and filing documents with the IRS on the behalf of the taxpayer; and

    • Rendering written advice with respect to any entity, transaction, plan or arrangement.

  2. Circular 230, 31 C.F.R. Part 10 governs the rules on practicing before the IRS. See also Pub 947, Practice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney; Rev. Proc. 81-38 (Applicable to tax returns prepared on or before December 31, 2015); Rev. Proc. 2014-42; IRM 1.25.1.1, Practice before the IRS Overview.

  3. Practice before the IRS (including TAS) does not include receiving information pursuant to a Form 8821 or providing information to the IRS to assist in processing the return pursuant to a Third Party Designee.

  4. A completed Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, is typically required before the individual can practice before the IRS. See IRM 13.1.23.3.1.1 for more information about the authority granted by Form 2848.

  5. A taxpayer can also grant authority for an individual to act on his or her behalf without Form 2848 by fulfilling the requirements set forth in 26 C.F.R. § 601.503(a), as detailed in IRS Pub 216, Conference and Practice Requirements. However, for purposes of processing such documents onto the Centralized Authorization File (CAF), a completed Form 2848 must be attached. 26 C.F.R. § 601.503(b).

  6. An individual must be authorized to practice before the IRS. Circular 230 provides the types of authorized representatives who can practice before the IRS. Note that some types of designations (such as unenrolled return preparers) have limitations on such practice. See IRM 13.1.23.3.1.

  7. If a taxpayer has a Form 2848 on file and has checked the appropriate box requesting the representative receive copies of all notices and communications, the IRS and TAS must send a duplicate of all correspondence to such representative. If multiple listed representatives have checked boxes, the IRS and TAS will send duplicate notices to the first two recognized representatives listed with checked boxes. IRS Pub 216, Conference and Practice Requirements, 26 C.F.R. § 601.506.

Attorneys and CPAs

  1. An attorney is an individual who is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any state, possession, or territory of the United States, including a Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia.

  2. A CPA is an individual who is duly qualified to practice as a CPA in any state, possession, territory, commonwealth, or in the District of Columbia.

  3. An attorney or CPA who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS or state licensing authority, and who is appointed by the taxpayer, may represent the taxpayer before the IRS.

  4. A taxpayer appoints an attorney or CPA to be a representative by using Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, or other valid Power of Attorney, indicating the type of tax and relevant tax periods for which representation is authorized.

Enrolled Agents

  1. An enrolled agent is an individual allowed to practice before the IRS because he or she:

    1. has passed a requisite examination administered by the IRS to demonstrate competence in tax matters, or

    2. is a former IRS employee with past service that meets the requirements defined in Circular 230§ 10.4(d).

  2. An enrolled agent who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS, has complied with the requirements for eligibility for renewal of enrollment (such as continuing professional education), and who is appointed by the taxpayer, may represent the taxpayer before the IRS.

  3. A taxpayer appoints an enrolled agent to be a representative by using Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, or other valid Power of Attorney, indicating the type of tax and relevant tax periods for which representation is authorized.

Enrolled Actuaries

  1. An enrolled actuary is an individual who is enrolled as an actuary by the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1242.

  2. An enrolled actuary who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS and who is appointed by the taxpayer, may represent the taxpayer before the IRS with regard to the employee compensation and benefits issues as listed in Circular 230, § 10.3(d)(2).

  3. A taxpayer appoints an enrolled actuary to be a representative by using Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, or other valid Power of Attorney, indicating the type of tax and relevant tax periods for which representation is authorized.

Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents (ERPAs)

  1. An ERPA is an individual allowed to practice before the IRS because he or she has passed a requisite examination administered by the IRS to demonstrate competence in qualified retirement plan matters.

  2. An ERPA who is not currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS and who is appointed by the taxpayer, may represent the taxpayer before the IRS with regard to the qualified retirement plan matters as listed inCircular 230 § 10.3(e)(2).

  3. A taxpayer appoints an ERPA to be a representative by using Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, or other valid Power of Attorney, indicating the type of tax and relevant tax periods for which representation is authorized.

Unenrolled Return Preparers and Annual Filing Season Program Participants

  1. An unenrolled return preparer is an individual other than an attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, enrolled actuary, or enrolled retirement plan agent, who prepares a taxpayer's tax return for compensation.

  2. For returns prepared on or before December 31, 2015: unenrolled return preparers may engage in limited practice before the IRS, as detailed above. See Rev. Proc. 2014-42.

  3. For returns prepared after December 31, 2015:

    1. Only Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Record of Completion holders are permitted to engage in limited practice by representing the taxpayer before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service. AFSP Record of Completion holder’s practice before the IRS requires that the holder (i) have had a Record of Completion for the year in which the tax return was prepared and signed and (ii) has a Record of Completion for each year in which the holder represents the taxpayer as to that return. However, an unenrolled return preparer with a valid AFSP record of completion cannot represent taxpayers before appeals officers, settlement officers, revenue officers, counsel, or similar officers or employees of the IRS;

    2. All other unenrolled return preparers are not authorized to practice before the IRS on matters related to returns prepared, including seeking TAS assistance. See Rev. Proc. 2014-42.

  4. To ensure that the unenrolled preparer has a valid AFSP record of completion, it is prudent to verify the preparer’s credentials on the IRS-maintained “Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications,” available at https://irs.treasury.gov/rpo/rpo.jsf.

  5. Effective for tax returns prepared after December 31, 2010, all preparers, including unenrolled return preparers, must obtain a PTIN by applying through the IRS Tax Professional PTIN System. The preparer must renew the PTIN annually. Treas. Reg. §1.6109-2.

  6. A taxpayer appoints an unenrolled preparer to provide limited representation by using Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, or other valid Power of Attorney, indicating the type of tax and relevant tax periods for which representation is authorized.

Student and Law Graduate Representation

  1. Accredited law, business and accounting schools may receive a grant from the IRS when they operate a clinic in which students represent low income taxpayers in controversies with the IRS. See IRC § 7526(b)(2)(A). Thus, it is important for TAS employees to understand the valuable role that students play in representing taxpayers and afford students the same respect and courteous service that TAS employees give to other representatives.

  2. Circular 230 § 10.7(d) permits the Commissioner, or his delegate, to authorize individuals otherwise ineligible to practice to represent another person in a particular matter. Pursuant to Delegation Order 25-18 (Rev. 2) (Expires Oct. 14, 2019, unless explicitly reissued) and IRM 1.2.52.19, a taxpayer may authorize a student or law graduate who works in a LITC or STCP to represent the taxpayer under a special appearance authorization issued by the Director, LITC Program Office. The student or law graduate must work under the direct supervision of an individual authorized to practice before the IRS.

  3. The instructions to Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, require that such students and law graduates attach a copy of the special appearance authorization letter when submitting a Form 2848.

  4. Students and law graduates who have been authorized to practice may, subject to any limitations set forth in the letter from the Director of the LITC Program Office, represent taxpayers before any IRS office and are eligible to perform any and all acts listed on a properly executed Form 2848.

  5. The supervising or lead practitioner must be listed first as a representative on line 2, and the name of the student or law graduate listed underneath on line 2.

  6. The lead practitioner who is listed as a representative on Line 2 may replace the student listed on the next line by submitting such change in writing. A new Form 2848 should be submitted to reflect the name of the new student representative on line 2 following the lead practitioner.

  7. A Form 2848 for a student is only valid for 130 days after the taxpayer signs it. When interacting with a student, TAS employees need to be sure the Form 2848 is still valid.

Other Individuals Eligible for Limited Practice

  1. Because of their special relationship with a taxpayer, the following individuals can represent the taxpayer before the IRS, provided they present satisfactory identification and proof of their authority to represent the taxpayer:

    1. Family member - immediate family - e.g., spouse, child, parent, sibling;

    2. Officer - bona fide officer of that corporation, association, governmental unit or organized group;

    3. Partner – general partner of that partnership; or

    4. Employee – a regular full-time employee of that business, association, governmental unit, or organized group.

  2. A taxpayer appoints an individual to provide limited representation by using Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, or other valid Power of Attorney, indicating the type of tax and relevant tax periods for which representation is authorized.

    Note:

    See IRS Pub 947, Practice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney.

Taxpayer’s Fiduciary and Practice Before the IRS

  1. A fiduciary (for example, a trustee, executor, administrator, receiver, personal representative, or guardian) is considered to be the taxpayer, and not a representative of the taxpayer.

  2. A fiduciary is any person in a position of confidence acting on behalf of any other person. A fiduciary assumes the powers, rights, duties, and privileges of the person or entity on whose behalf he or she is acting. Examples of fiduciaries include: administrators, conservators, designees, executors, guardians, receivers, trustees of a trust, trustees in bankruptcy, personal representatives, persons in possession of property of a decedent’s estate, or debtors-in-possession of assets in any bankruptcy proceeding by order of the court. See Instructions for Form 56, Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship.

  3. The fiduciary must submit Form 56, Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship, to the IRS. Form 56 is used to notify the IRS of the creation or termination of a fiduciary relationship.

Individuals Granted Special Appearance by Office of Professional Responsibility

  1. The OPR may authorize an individual, who is not otherwise eligible to practice before the IRS (e.g., tribal court advocate), to represent another person for a particular matter. The prospective individual must request this authorization in writing from OPR. If OPR grants special appearance authorization, the individual must submit Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative.

    Note:

    Students and law graduates at LITCs and STCPs receive their special appearance authorization from the Director of the LITC Program Office, not OPR. See IRM 13.1.23.4.6,Student and Law Graduate Representation.

  2. A taxpayer appoints an individual with a special appearance authorization to be a representative by using Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, or other valid Power of Attorney, indicating the type of tax and relevant tax periods for which representation is authorized. A copy of the special appearance authorization letter must accompany the Form 2848.

Taxpayer Complaints About Representatives

  1. If a taxpayer voices concerns about a representative’s misconduct, provide the taxpayer information on how to report the representative. The procedures for filing the complaint differ depending on whether or not the representative’s misconduct impacts the tax return or refund.

    Conduct impacting the tax return or refund includes:

    • Embezzling a refund,

    • Altering tax return documents,

    • Filing the return without the taxpayer’s consent,

    • Creating or changing income to generate a larger refund,

    • Creating false exemptions, dependents, expenses, deductions or credits to generate a larger refund, and

    • Using an incorrect filing status to generate a larger refund.

    Conduct not impacting the taxpayer’s return or refund, includes:

    • Failing to sign or enter the proper PTIN on the return,

    • Refusing to provide a copy of the return as filed,

    • Failing to timely return client records,

    • Providing false credentials.

  2. If the misconduct impacts the tax return or refund, direct the taxpayer to file Form 14157, Return Preparer Complaint and Form 14157-A, Tax Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit.

    • If the taxpayer received a related notice or letter from the IRS, the taxpayer should mail the forms, along with a copy of the notice and any supporting documentation to the address contained on the notice or letter.

    • If the taxpayer did not receive a related notice or letter, the taxpayer should mail the forms along with any supporting documentation to the address where the taxpayer would normally mail Form 1040.

  3. If the misconduct does not impact the return or refund, the taxpayer should send Form 14157 with any supporting documentation to the IRS Return Preparer Office (RPO) by fax or mail as directed on the form instructions.

  4. If the taxpayer does not want to make a referral but a TAS employee has sufficient information about the representative’s violation(s) of Circular 230, a TAS employee should follow the nonstandard disclosure procedures in IRM 13.1.5 to make a referral to the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) or Return Preparer Office (RPO).

TAS Concerns About Representatives

  1. Taxpayers have a right to retain representation. Before a TAS employee takes any action which could compromise the taxpayer’s representation, extreme care and caution must be taken to protect this right. TAS employees are required to consider whether the practitioner’s actions are merely aggressive, forceful, or zealous before beginning the process to make a referral or recommending discipline. Remember that annoying behavior by a representative is not grounds to make a referral.

  2. Circular 230 § 10.53(a) provides that if a TAS employee has reason to believe that a practitioner has violated the rules of practice, the employee must make a written report to the appropriate IRS office (OPR or RPO). How a TAS employee complies with Circular 230 §10.53(a) will depend upon whether the employee has consent of the taxpayer to make the report. If the taxpayer consents to revealing the representative’s actions to OPR/RPO, the TAS employee will make a standard disclosure per IRM 13.1.5. If, however, the taxpayer does not consent to reporting the representative, the employee should discuss making a referral with his or her immediate manager and follow the nonstandard disclosure procedures in IRM 13.1.5.

  3. To determine if a referral to RPO is appropriate, see IRM 13.1.23.5 above and the instructions to Form 14157, Return Preparer Complaint.

  4. A referral to OPR should only be considered if the representative is a practitioner governed by the rules of Circular 230, Regulations Governing Practice before the Internal Revenue Service, as provided in 31 C.F.R. § 10.3. Furthermore, the suspected misconduct must be a violation of the rules set forth in Subpart B of Circular 230 or a violation of Circular 230 § 10.51.

    • Referrals can be made to OPR on Form 8484, Suspected Practitioner Misconduct Report for the Office of Professional Responsibility. See Exhibit in IRM 1.25.1-1, How to Make a Referral to the Office of Professional Responsibility.

    • LITCs are funded by Congress and administered by TAS. The LITC Program Office holds the clinics to certain operational standards and is responsible for ensuring those standards are met (see Pub 3319 for information on LITC standards). If a TAS employee believes an attorney, CPA, or EA, or student practicing under the supervision of an LITC practitioner has violated any provisions of Circular 230 in his/her representation of a taxpayer, that TAS employee should contact his/her Local Taxpayer Advocate (LTA), who should discuss the alleged misconduct with the representative. If such discussions do not resolve the matter, the LTA should seek approval from the LITC Program Director to make a referral.

Power of Attorney Bypass

  1. Taxpayers have a right to retain representation. TAS employees are required to protect this fundamental taxpayer right. Before any TAS employee bypasses a taxpayer’s representative (also referred to as power of attorney or POA), careful consideration must be given to whether the representative’s behavior rises to the level necessitating a bypass, as detailed below, and is not merely annoying, aggressive, or zealous representation. It is also possible that TAS’s actions have caused or contributed to the problem. As detailed below, TAS employees can only bypass a POA after completing the procedures detailed below, which include final approval from the appropriate DEDCA.

  2. IRC § 7521(c) allows an IRS employee to contact a represented taxpayer directly (i.e., bypass the power of attorney). Circular 230, § 10.23 provides that a practitioner may not unreasonably delay the prompt disposition of any matter before the IRS.

  3. Where a representative has unreasonably delayed or hindered an examination, collection, or investigation by failing to furnish, after repeated requests, information necessary for TAS to assist the taxpayer, the TAS employee should evaluate whether a POA bypass would be in the best interest of the taxpayer. Due consideration should be given to the harm imposed on the taxpayer as a result of such delay, whether TAS contributed to such delay, as well as the taxpayer’s right to retain representation.

  4. Managerial approval is crucial in bypass procedures. If a TAS employee suspects an unreasonable delay by a practitioner, the employee should discuss the possibility of a POA bypass with an immediate supervisor, who should review the issue and attempt to resolve the problem by discussing the problem with the POA. The manager should also determine whether TAS’s actions caused or contributed to the delay. Final approval for bypass is required from the appropriate DEDCA. Both the actions of the LTA and DEDCA should be documented in TAMIS.

  5. If a TAS employee believes the POA’s unreasonable delay or hindrance is causing undue taxpayer burden or harm, bypass procedures should be considered to initiate direct contact with a taxpayer rather than simply closing the case as a “no response” pursuant to IRM 13.1.18.6.1, Reviewing and Requesting information from Taxpayers.

    Example:

    A taxpayer's POA contacted TAS requesting assistance in obtaining a Certificate of Discharge for a taxpayer. The taxpayer has a closing date set for June 24, 2017, and normal processing time for a Certificate of Discharge is 45 days. The TAS employee provided the POA with a list of required items needed for the discharge application on May 2, 2017. The POA provided some of the required documents, but did not provide a copy of the appraisal or an Application for Certificate of Discharge of Property from Federal Tax Lien. It is now May 23, 2017, and the POA has not responded to repeated calls or the Letter 1671, Second Request, sent from the TAS employee requesting the documents necessary to complete the application package. The taxpayer is moving to another state for a new job and cannot postpone the closing. The TAS employee should discuss with the TAS manager whether to consider bypassing the POA. If the manager reviews the matter, makes reasonable attempts to contact the POA with no resolution, and the LTA and DEDCA approve the POA bypass, after sufficiently documenting the case file, the TAS employee can contact the taxpayer directly so the taxpayer can provide the necessary documents. If there is further delay or the case is closed as “no response,” the taxpayer could be irreparably harmed.

    Example:

    A corporation's POA contacted TAS requesting assistance in obtaining a release of levy against the corporate account. If the levy is not released, payroll checks issued to over 200 employees will not clear the bank. The Revenue Officer handling the case told the TAS employee she would grant an installment agreement and release the levy if the POA would provide a collection information statement to support entering into an installment agreement. The POA has not responded to calls and correspondence sent by the TAS employee requesting this information. The bank will be sending the funds to the IRS in seven days. The TAS employee should discuss with the TAS manager whether to consider bypassing the POA to contact the Corporate Officer directly for the financial information to support an installment agreement. Such bypass will prevent adverse impact to the over 200 employees. However, the TAS employee cannot make direct contact until the LTA and DEDCA approve the bypass.

  6. If the POA delays or refuses to provide the information requested after repeated attempts, document TAMIS with the circumstances regarding the delay, secure the manager's approval and LTA’s signature for the Bypass POA Warning Letter. The warning letter advises the POA of his or her responsibilities under Sections 10.20 through 10.23 of Circular 230, (31 C.F.R., Subtitle A, Part 10). The warning letter should explain the consequences of continued failure to cooperate. The warning letter must be issued directly to the POA. Although the warning letter does not provide sufficient space for an explanation of why a bypass is necessary and in the best interest of the taxpayer, TAS should attempt to either add to the warning letter or attach an addendum providing a detailed explanation of the basis for the bypass. See TAS website for the Bypass POA Warning Letter.

    Caution:

    The taxpayer should not be sent a copy of the warning letter!

  7. If the POA continues to delay or refuses to provide the information requested after repeated attempts and the issuance of the Bypass POA Warning Letter, prepare a Bypass POA Letter for the LTA’s signature. The decision to bypass resides with the LTA and is approved by the appropriate DEDCA. In taking such an action, the following items must be completed:

    1. Document TAMIS history with the efforts made by the TAS employee to obtain the information and the actions (or lack thereof) of the POA. All appointments and document requests should be confirmed in writing if uncooperative behavior is suspected. All copies of TAS and OD/Function document requests sent to the POA should be in the TAS case file to support the recommendation of a bypass procedure;

    2. Request approval from the LTA to bypass the POA; and

    3. If the LTA and DEDCA approve bypass procedures, prepare the Bypass POA Letter for the LTA's signature. The letter should outline all of the facts and circumstances which constitute the basis for the bypass letter. Send the bypass letter to the POA with a copy to the taxpayer. See TAS website for the Bypass POA Letter.

    Note:

    The TAS employee may not circumvent the POA until the LTA approves the bypass by signing and issuing the Bypass POA Letter.

  8. The bypass procedures permit the TAS employee to contact the taxpayer directly after the Bypass POA letter has been issued. The practitioner continues to represent the taxpayer and will continue to receive copies of all correspondence.

    Example:

    An enrolled agent (EA) who represents a taxpayer requests TAS assistance in getting an Offer in Compromise (OIC) processed for his client. The EA states the Revenue Officer (RO) insists the taxpayer can pay in full and will not discuss an OIC. The TAS employee requests a Collection Information Statement (CIS) and a copy of the taxpayer's proposed OIC. The EA agent does not submit the financial statement by the agreed date. He does not return multiple phone calls until the TAS employee issues a second request for information, Letter 1671, Taxpayer Advocate Service Second Request for Information. The EA then calls the TAS employee and requests an appointment to discuss the financial statement and OIC. The TAS employee schedules an appointment and advises the EA what he should bring to the meeting. The EA does not show up for the appointment and does not submit the financial statement. The RO issues a Section 6320 notice Letter 3172, Notice of Federal Tax Lien Filing and Your Rights to a Hearing under IRC 6320. At this point, the TAS employee should not close the TAS case as “no response.” If the taxpayer or EA does not respond to this Section 6320 notice, Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing rights will be lost. This could affect the taxpayer's business and his ability to provide for his family. The TAS employee should consider bypass procedures and discuss the case with a TAS manager.

Direct Taxpayer Contact When Valid POA on File

  1. In general, TAS employees are required to work with the representative if the taxpayer has a valid Form 2848 on file. Check CAF File Identification Number Query (CFINK) for authorizations.

  2. Taxpayers with POAs on file may contact TAS and request the TAS employee work with them directly instead of working with the authorized representative.

    • If a TAS employee is on the phone with a taxpayer, the TAS employee is required to advise the taxpayer of the requirement to communicate directly with the authorized representative unless the taxpayer revokes the POA or the representative withdraws (see IRM 13.1.18.3(8), Initial Contact).

    • TAS must notify the POA about the taxpayer-initiated contact unless the taxpayer revokes the POA following the instructions found atPower of Attorney / Third Party Authorizationstoolkit under the IRM Supplements tab on SERP. It is vitally important that the POA knows the taxpayer has spoken to TAS directly. Taxpayers may not understand the law, the consequences of taking certain actions, and may react due to fear of enforcement actions.

    Note:

    Under IRC § 6103(e)(1)(A)(i), the taxpayer is always entitled to receive account information about his or her own account even when there is a POA on file.

    • If the taxpayer has contacted TAS and the TAS employee has not been able to reach the taxpayer by phone to explain TAS's obligation to work with the POA, the TAS employee will send a letter to the taxpayer. The letter must explain the taxpayer's right to restrict the representative's authority so that TAS can work directly with the taxpayer. The letter should encourage the taxpayer to contact the POA. The letter must not encourage the taxpayer to revoke the representative's authority or request the representative to withdraw, but the letter can explain the taxpayer’s rights regarding representation. The TAS employee must send a copy of the letter to the POA if the box on Line 2 of Form 2848 has been checked, indicating the taxpayer wants copies of correspondence sent to the POA. See the TAS website for the letter, Taxpayer Direct Contact to TAS When POA on File.

    Note:

    If the taxpayer has multiple representatives , see IRM 13.1.23.9, Multiple Representatives. Send the correspondence only to the designated POAs listed on Line 2 of Form 2848 with the box checked indicating the taxpayer wants the POA to receive copies of written communications.

  3. It is not acceptable if a practitioner submits a new first page of Form 2848 and simply attaches a photocopy of page two from the original Form 2848 that has the taxpayer's signature.

  4. A taxpayer may restrict the representative's authority at any time. The instructions for Lines 4 and 5 of Form 2848 provide procedures for those restrictions. If a Form 2848 has already been filed with the IRS, the taxpayer should file a new Form 2848 listing the restrictions.


    There may be situations where it is appropriate to obtain the representative's permission for TAS to communicate directly with the taxpayer about a specific matter. TAS employees can arrange to have the taxpayer and the representative on the phone together, and obtain the representative's consent for TAS to contact the taxpayer directly. The details and the scope of the consent must be documented on TAMIS. TAS employees will request the representative confirm the permission in writing, or the TAS employee will follow-up with a letter to the representative summarizing the conversation and agreement. A copy of the letter to the representative must be included in the case file and the TAMIS history must be documented.

  5. For information regarding Powers of Attorney (including information on researching CFINK, explanation of the CFINK codes, how a taxpayer can revoke a power of attorney, etc.), see the Power of Attorney / Third Party Authorizations toolkit under the IRM Supplements tab on SERP. Refer to Publication 947, Practice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney for additional information.

Multiple Representatives

  1. It is common practice for accounting and law firms to list the primary representative first on a Form 2848. Additional staff members may be listed as backup to the primary representative. In addition, LITCs or STCPs often will list two or more individuals on Form 2848. TAS employees only need to contact one of the listed POAs in order to meet the requirement for contacting the taxpayer's representative.

  2. If the taxpayer has multiple POAs on file, copies of all systemically-generated notices are sent to the designated POA(s) listed on Line 2 of Form 2848 with the box checked that indicates the taxpayer wants the POA to receive copies of written communications.

  3. If TAS is unable to reach the POA who is handling the TAS case by telephone, send correspondence to that POA even if the taxpayer did not mark the checkbox on Line 2 for that POA to receive the systemically-generated notices.

    Caution:

    Taxpayers may augment or limit a POA's authority. Check the POA form or the CAF via cc CFINK for any modifications of the authority before communicating and corresponding with the POA.

Terminating Third Party Authorizations

  1. Third party authorizations may be terminated in the following ways, which will depend in part on the type of authorization:

    1. the taxpayer revokes an existing third party authorization;

    2. the taxpayer provides a superseding authorization;

    3. the third party withdraws;

    4. the third party authorization has expired due to passage of time; or

    5. the tax matter has been resolved.

  2. If a taxpayer wishes to revoke an existing authorization, advise the taxpayer to write the word “REVOKE” across the top of the first page of the previously executed authorization (i.e., Form 2848), sign and date below the annotation, and submit it to the TAS employee.

  3. If a taxpayer previously executed a Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative and now wants to change representatives, advise the taxpayer that the filing of a new Form 2848 will supersede the previously executed Form 2848, unless the taxpayer checks box 6 on Form 2848.

    Note:

    Note: The filing of Form 2848 will not revoke any Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization in effect. Similarly, the filing of Form 8821 will not revoke any Form 2848 in effect.

  4. The filing of a new Form 8821 will only supersede an existing Form 8821 if it is for the same tax matter and tax period. If a taxpayer wants to retain any previously filed Forms 8821 for the same tax matter and same tax period, the box on line 6 must be checked.

  5. If a designee (Form 8821) or representative (Form 2848) wishes to withdraw an authorization, advise him or her to submit a copy of the previously executed authorization and write the word “Withdraw” across the top of the first page of the form, and include below the annotation his or her signature with the current date.

  6. If a copy of the authorization that the taxpayer desires to revoke or the form that the designee/representative wishes to withdraw is not available, advise the taxpayer or designee/representative to submit a written statement that contains the following:

    • Clear intent to revoke or withdraw;

    • Current dated signature;

    • Name, address, and taxpayer identification number of the taxpayer;

    • Name and address of each representative whose authority is revoked or withdrawn; and

    • Specific tax matters (i.e., type of tax and period(s)); or state “remove all years/periods” if the taxpayer is completely revoking the authority of the representative.

  7. If revocation or withdrawal occurs, document TAMIS and update the POA screen to indicate the POA is no longer active. Forward the form or written statement to the CAF unit for processing.

Types of Third Party Authorizations

Type of Third Party Authorization Required IRS Form Authorized Actions Unauthorized Actions
Power of Attorney Form 2848 or other written document, such as a durable power of attorney, satisfying requirements of 26 C.F.R. § 601.503(a). Practice before the IRS as governed by Circular 230, but limited to the type of tax matter and tax years listed on the form. Certain types of representatives are only allowed to engage in limited practice.
Tax Information Authorization Form 8821 Inspect or receive confidential information from any IRS office for the type of tax and tax periods listed. Practice before the IRS.
Oral Disclosure Consent No form but the taxpayer must provide oral consent. TAS must document such oral consent. Receive confidential tax information from the IRS. Practice before the IRS.
Third Party Designee Box Checked and Information provided on Form 1040. This authorization is limited to matters related to the processing of the taxpayer’s return. This authorization does not provide authorization to obtain information in the context of an audit, collection, or other compliance activity. Practice before the IRS is also unauthorized.
Fiduciary (trustee, executor, administrator, receiver, or guardian) Form 56 A fiduciary is considered to be the taxpayer and can take any actions a taxpayer can take. N/A

Terms

Terms Definitions
Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, Disclosure Authorization A taxpayer appoints an individual authorized to practice before the IRS to represent him or her on any IRS-related matter by submitting a signed Form 2848.
Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, Disclosure Authorization A taxpayer authorizes the IRS to disclose confidential information to a person or entity by submitting a signed Form 8821.
Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) The OPR administers and enforces the regulations governing practice before the IRS.
Oral Disclosure Consent A taxpayer authorizes oral disclosure to a designated person by means of “an oral disclosure consent.” A designated person may include an interpreter when language barriers exist for the purpose of facilitating the oral disclosure between the IRS and the taxpayer.
Right to Retain Representation Taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized representative of their choice to represent them in their dealings with the IRS. Taxpayers have the right to be told that if they cannot afford to hire a representative they may be eligible for assistance from a Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic.
Third Party Designee A taxpayer designates a “third part designee” on the tax return by checking the box on the face of the Form 1040 and providing the name, phone number, and personal identification number (PIN) for a third party whom the IRS may contact to answer any questions that may arise during the processing of the taxpayer’s return.

Acronyms

Acronyms Definitions
ACA Affordable Care Act
AFSP Annual Filing Season Program
APTC Advance Premium Tax Credit
CAF Centralized Authorization File
CDP Collection Due Process
CFINK CAF File Identification Number Query
CIS Collection Information Statement
CQRS Case Quality Review System
DEDCA Deputy Executive Director Case Advocacy
DNTA Deputy National Taxpayer Advocate
EA Enrolled Agent
EDCA Executive Director Case Advocacy
EDCA-ITS Executive Director Case Advocacy, Intake and Technical Support
ERPA Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent
IDRS Integrated Data Retrieval System
IRC Internal Revenue Code
IRM Internal Revenue Manual
IRS Internal Revenue Service
LITC Low Income Taxpayer Clinic
LTA Local Taxpayer Advocate
MFT Master File Tax
OIC Offer in Compromise
OPR Office of Professional Responsibility
PGLD/IM Privacy, Government Liaison and Disclosure/Incident Management
PII Personally Identifiable Information
POA Power of Attorney
PTC Premium Tax Credit
PTIN Preparer Tax Identification Number
RPO Return Preparer Office
Rev. Proc. Revenue Procedure
RO Revenue Officer
SBU Sensitive but unclassified
SERP Servicewide Electronic Research Program
STCP Student Tax Clinic Program
TAG Technical Analysis and Guidance
TAGM Taxpayer Advocate Group Manager
TAMIS Taxpayer Advocate Management Information System
TAS Taxpayer Advocate Service
TBOR Taxpayer Bill of Rights
TIN Taxpayer Identification Number
Treas. Reg. Treasury Regulation
U.S. United States
USC United States Code