The IRS has released a revised Form 2848 Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative with several important changes.
The old Form 2848 (revised June 2008) allowed the representative to receive refund checks on behalf of the taxpayer (line 6). The new Form 2848 (revised October 2011) has removed the old line 6 and specifically states that “the representative is not authorized to receive or negotiate any amounts paid to the client in connection with this representation (including refunds by either electronic means or paper checks).” This change may be in response to the meteoric rise in instances of refund fraud that have plagued the IRS in recent years.
The new Form 2848 allows the taxpayer to check boxes on line 5 which allow the representative to exercise certain powers, including: disclosing returns to third parties, signing returns, and substituting or adding representatives.
The new Form 2848 adds a new designation for registered tax return preparers (designation “i”) and has merged student attorneys and CPAs into one designation (designation “k”).
Line 7 of the old Form 2848, regarding communications with the representative(s), has been removed and now there boxes appear in line 2 that the taxpayer may check if they want the representative to receive notice or communications. The taxpayer may select only the first two representatives to receive notices and no box appears for the third representative. If the taxpayer does not want any representative to receive notices or communications then they would not check either box.
Finally, it appears that now there must be one Form 2848 per person even in the instance of married couples filing jointly. The signature line of the new Form 2848 one has room for one person and the Form states that “if a tax matter concerns a year in which a joint return was filed, the husband and wife must each file a separate power of attorney even if the same representative is being appointed.” Hopefully, this will help to smooth the process at the IRS, as the old Form 2848 had a tendency to cause procedural problems when submitted on behalf of two people.