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Thursday, November 05, 2015

Power of Attorney Holder Cannot Sign for Another

Tax practitioners are familiar with Form 2848. With that form, a taxpayer authorizes an attorney, accountant, or other authorized representative to act as attorney-in-fact for the taxpayer as to the specified tax matter in dealing with the IRS.

When the form is prepared, the representative has to sign it. In a recent Chief Counsel Advice, the question was raised whether one duly authorized representative can sign for another representative on the Form 2848. Unsurprisingly, the advice provides that this is not permissible. The nature of the written declaration of the representative is for the signer to declare, under penalties of perjury, his status and that he is subject to the provisions of Circular 230. Allowing someone else to make that declaration is inconsistent with the purpose of the declaration.

Note that this is a different question from whether one named representative, as representative of the taxpayer, can appoint another representative for the taxpayer (i.e., to sign the Form 2848 on behalf of the taxpayer). But I hope I didn’t get your hopes up on that scenario – that is not permitted either, by the express terms of the Form 2848 - unless the taxpayer had specifically authorized it in Section 5a of the Form 2848 that named the original representative that is seeking to name an additional representative.

Chief Counsel Advice 201544024

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