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Publication 947 - Introductory Material

Future Developments

The IRS has created a page on for information about Publication 947 at Information about any future developments (such as legislation enacted after we release it) will be posted on that page.

What's New

Representative designations. IRS no longer recognizes the registered tax return preparer designation. All unenrolled return preparers must provide a valid PTIN to represent a taxpayer before the IRS. For returns prepared after December 31, 2015, only unenrolled return preparers participating in the Annual Filing Season Record of Completion program may represent a taxpayer, and only with respect to returns prepared and signed by the preparer.

Representative signatures. Form 2848 now provides space for the information and signatures of up to four representatives. For more information, see the instructions to Form 2848, Line 2. Representatives(s).

Revisions to Circular 230. Amendments to Circular 230 (Rev. 6‐2014), the rules governing practice before the IRS, include recent noteworthy changes.

  • Practitioner's written tax advice. Requirements for certain written tax opinions (known as “covered opinions”) were replaced with principles-based requirements applicable to all practitioners' written tax advice.

  • Practitioner's general competency requirement. A general competency requirement, under which a practitioner must have or obtain the knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation necessary for whatever matter the practitioner has undertaken for a client has been added to Circular 230.

  • Negotiation of taxpayer checks. The explicit recognition that a longstanding prohibition in Circular 230 against negotiation of Treasury “checks” issued to taxpayers likewise applies to direct deposits and similar electronic forms of payment that are now commonplace. See Negotiation of taxpayer refund checks , under What Are the Rules of Practice?, later.

  • Suspension from practice. Circular 230 expands and refines the process for suspension from practice on an expedited basis, which allows the Office of Professional Responsibility to promptly suspend individuals in certain situations using a short form of administrative due process.

For further information see Circular 230 (Rev. 6‐2014), Regulations Governing Practice before the Internal Revenue Service.

Annual Filing Season Program and Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers. The IRS has developed an online searchable database of tax return preparers who participate in the Annual Filing Season Program. The general public can access the database on the IRS website. The IRS developed the directory as part of the Annual Filing Season Program. For further information see below, Annual Filing Season Program .


Practitioners' Hotline. The Practitioner Priority Service® is a nationwide, toll-free hotline that provides professional support to practitioners with account-related questions. The toll-free number for this service is 1-866-860-4259.

Annual Filing Season Program. The Annual Filing Season Program is a voluntary program that allows limited practice rights for return preparers who are not attorneys, certified public accountants, or enrolled agents. The IRS issues an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion to return preparers who obtain a certain number of continuing education hours in preparation for a specific tax year. Annual filing season program participants do not have unlimited practice rights (unless they are also an attorney, certified public accountant, or enrolled agent). Their rights are limited to representation of clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service. They cannot represent clients whose returns they did not prepare and sign, nor can they represent clients before the collection or appeals functions. See for more information.


This publication discusses who may represent a taxpayer before the IRS and what forms or documents are used to authorize a person to represent a taxpayer. Usually, attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs), and enrolled agents may represent taxpayers before the IRS. Enrolled retirement plan agents, and enrolled actuaries may represent with respect to specified Internal Revenue Code sections delineated in Circular 230. Under special and limited circumstances, other individuals, including unenrolled return preparers, family members, employees, and students can represent taxpayers before the IRS. For details regarding taxpayer representation, see Who Can Practice Before the IRS? , later.

Definitions.   Many of the terms used in this publication, such as “enrolled agent” and “practitioner” are defined in the Glossary at the back of this publication.

Comments and suggestions.    We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

  You can send us comments from Click on “More Information” and then on “Give us feedback.

  Or you can write to:

Internal Revenue Service 
Tax Forms and Publications 
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526 
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  We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.

  Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.

Ordering forms and publications.    Visit to download forms and publications. Otherwise, you can go to to order forms or call 1-800-829-3676 to order current and prior-year forms and instructions. Your order should arrive within 10 business days.

Tax questions.    If you have a tax question, check the information available on or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to the above address.

Useful Items - You may want to see:


  • 1 Your Rights as a Taxpayer

  • Circular No. 230 Regulations Governing Practice before the Internal Revenue Service

Forms and Instructions

  • 2848 Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative

  • 8821 Tax Information Authorization

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