Powers of Attorney
The Power of Attorney that you receive from your clients gives to you, as the student attorney, the authority to represent the client before the IRS. The IRS has created a specific form (Form 2848), Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative for clinics such as ours. You must have a POA on file with the IRS in order to speak with any IRS representative about your client’s tax situation. As a student attorney you are designated by the IRS as a representative who is authorized to practice before he IRS.
To avoid faxing the Form 2848 to each person you speak with in the IRS and to review your client’s information on e-services, the IRS permits authorized representatives like the Tax Clinic to fax to the Central Authorization File (CAF) Unit Form 2848. The CAF Unit loads the information on the IRS system within 48 hours.
Instructions for Completing the Form 2848
We have entered on page 1 of the IRS Form 2848 some clinic specific information including the information on the Clinic directors and a place for the student to include the student’s specific information. A PDF of this modified page is located on the Clinic’s I-drive at 2015-POA-5-Rep-Revised.pdf and should be completed and assembled with the second page of the form signed by the client.
When preparing a new Form 2848:
- Type in the client’s name, social security number or tax identification number (such as the ITIN – Individual Tax Identification Number; or EITN – Employer Identification Number) and their daytime phone number on the first page of the form.
- In section 3 of the form include the years at issue. Always include the “through” year to be the current year. You can use multiple years such as 2001 thru 2016.
- If the type of tax is other than Form 1040 Income, include that tax also, such as Form 941(Employers Quarterly Federal Tax Return) and the specific periods.
- In some cases the IRS creates two accounts for a taxpayer, such as when there is an Innocent Spouse Claim, when the IRS has assessed a Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (TFRP), or in certain bankruptcy situations. If you encounter this situation, the Form 2848 section 3 must be completed, as follows.
- For Innocent Spouse include the phrase “1040 Separate Assessment – Form 8857” and the years at issue;
- For Trust Fund Recovery include the phrase “Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (TFRP)” and the years involved;
- For Bankruptcy – If a taxpayer was married and filed a petition in bankruptcy, there will be a separate account created. For this situation use the phrase “1040 Separate Account” for all the years at issue.
- On the second page of the POA go ahead and write the taxpayer’s name on the line where it says ‘Print Name’.
- Always have the client sign and date the prepared second page of the Form 2848. Do not use a blank second page.
- PRIOR REQUIREMENT – SUPERSEDED – If our clients are a married couple and if we are going to handle years during which our clients were not married to the current spouse or they filed separately, we will need to submit separate Powers of Attorney newly signed and dated, for the years during which the taxpayer did NOT file a joint return with their current spouse. For example: we are going to represent a couple for 2000 thru 2010. They were married in 2003 and did not file a joint return until 2004. We would have to submit separate POA’s for each one of the taxpayers for years 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003.*
- Always make sure that box 5a is checked on the first page, so that we have authorization to substitute representatives. This allows us to substitute student representatives more efficiently when we transition cases.
- Once the client returns the signed Form 2848 be sure that all information is properly set forth on the form, then sign your name on the second page and date the form. It is imperative that the Form 2848 be dated the date you fax it to the IRS CAF Unit.
- Assemble the package and give to the Clinic Fellow to sign. Then fax. The assembled package includes:
- completed Fax cover sheet,
- completed pages 1 and 2 of Form 2848,
- the letter from the Clinic with a list of current students enrolled in the clinic and a letter from the director of practice authorizing student attorneys to practice before the IRS. Copies of these letters are located in the trays beside the fax machine, as are Fax cover sheets pre-filled with the CAF Unit number. Each time you fax a Form 2848 to the IRS this entire package must be faxed.
Form 2848 instructions from the “Your First Week” page are included below:
- If the client has already executed a Form 2848, you can simply execute a new Form 2848 indicating that you are substituting authority to you as the new student attorney along with the clinic attorneys. This is accomplished by checking to make sure that Box 5a of the first page of the power of attorney and that is currently on file with the IRS was checked. If box 5a was not checked on this page, you will need to obtain a new POA from the client. If box 5a was checked on this page, we are authorized to substitute representatives without having to obtain a new client signature. You would complete a new POA, substituting yourself for the former student and still including all clinic attorneys You would then take the original POA on file with the client’s signature and the new POA , and submit both the new and the original Form 2848 to the Clinic Fellow for her original signature (she may sign in lieu of the client because of our ability to substitute representatives), then fax the package to the CAF unit of the IRS with the other documents indicated above. There are fax cover sheets to the CAF Unit already prepared and located beside the fax machine in the office of the administrative coordinator.
- If there is not a POA signed by the client in the client’s file you will have to immediately send one to the client for signature with your introductory letter. Do not forget to remind the client to return both pages of the POA. You should print the client’s name on the second page where the client signs.
*Change effective 1/19/2010 (IRM 126.96.36.199.4.1)