Jan 24 2024 /

What is IRS Form 2848: power of attorney? A detailed guide for accountants and tax pros

What is IRS Form 2848: power of attorney - Banner

Clients often need a professional accountant or tax expert to represent them in front of the IRS. But to do that, the expert first needs legal clearance to act on the client’s behalf — known as “power of attorney”. IRS Form 2848 is how you go about gaining that authorization. 

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Form 2848, including: 

  • It’s purpose and scope
  • Who can use it — and when
  • What information is required
  • How the submission process works

So without further ado, let’s jump right in. 

What is a power of attorney for tax matters?

A power of attorney is a legal way for someone to grant someone else — usually a close relative or trusted professional — the authority to make decisions or perform certain actions on their behalf. In tax matters, a power of attorney can be used by a taxpayer to enable a tax professional to be their trusted representative. 

The world of tax can be highly confusing for the average person, and at the same time, mistakes can be highly costly. This makes a power of attorney a particularly useful tool whereby an accountant can stand in the taxpayer’s shoes and manage their affairs professionally.

What’s the purpose and use of Form 2848?

The primary goal of IRS Form 2848 is to empower taxpayers to designate a representative who can act on their behalf in interactions with the IRS. For accountants and tax professionals, it provides the legal permission they need to represent their clients before the IRS.

Who can use Form 2848?

Form 2848 can be completed and signed by any taxpayer, whether that’s an individual or an organization. There are stricter rules about the representative who can be authorized to act on the taxpayer’s behalf, however. Essentially, they must be qualified to represent the taxpayer before the IRS. Here are some examples: 

  • Certified public accountants (CPAs)
  • Enrolled agents
  • Attorneys
  • Immediate family members

So when might a taxpayer need to appoint a representative using Form 2848? Well, the short answer is anytime they need or want assistance when dealing with the IRS. 

In some cases, the situation might only require the authorized professional to access their client’s tax-related information from the IRS, without the need for wider representation — for example, tax planning or advisory services. In this case, IRS Form 8821 can be used. 

The role of the representative

As a designated representative, you can act on your client’s behalf in matters relating to the IRS. These might include: 

  • Appealing a decision or resolving a dispute
  • Negotiating settlements and agreements
  • Amending tax returns and providing consents
  • Receiving — and responding to — IRS notices
  • Accessing tax returns, transcripts and other personal information
  • Signing documents 
  • Representing the client during IRS audits

The representative’s powers are limited to the specific tax matters outlined in Form 2848, during the year or periods specified in the form. 

Key information required on Form 2848

In this section, we’ll look at the crucial information that’s required to complete Form 2848. As with any official IRS form, it’s critical that the information you provide is accurate, complete and up-to-date. 

For a more detailed guide on how to complete Form 2848, check out our article: IRS Form 2848 instructions: how to fill out your power of attorney.

Taxpayer information

The first section of Form 2848 gathers information about the taxpayer, including their: 

  • Name and address
  • Taxpayer identification number (TIN)
  • Telephone number


Next up, you’ll need to include all relevant information about the chosen representative(s), including their: 

  • Name and address
  • CAF number
  • Preparer tax identification number (PTIN)
  • Telephone and fax numbers

To understand what a CAF number is and why it’s so important for IRS forms, read our article: Understanding the CAF number: your complete guide.

Acts authorized

In this section, you specify the scope of the authorization. There are three columns to be completed: 

  • A description of the matter (e.g. income, employment, payroll, etc.)
  • Tax form number
  • Years or periods

Additional acts authorized

There’s also an additional section where you can provide information about further acts that you’ll be authorized to perform on behalf of your client. These include the following checkboxes: 

  • Access my IRS records via an Intermediate Service Provider 
  • Authorize disclosure to third parties
  • Substitute or add representatives(s)
  • Sign a return

Specific acts not authorized

Form 2848 also allows you to explicitly specify acts that the representative will not be authorized to perform. 

Declarations and signatures

Finally, Form 2848 requires both the taxpayer and the representative(s) to sign and date a declaration. The representative(s) will also need to provide information relating to their professional standing (if applicable), including: 

  • Licensing jurisdiction or authority
  • Bar, license, certification, registration or enrollment number

The submission process

Once you’ve completed Form 2848, you’ll need to file it using the official channels. This is a relatively simple process, but sending the form to the wrong email address, for example, is an all too common mistake, leading to unnecessary delays. 

There are three options for submitting your completed Form 2848: 

The correct mailing address or fax number depends on where you live. Please see the “Where to File” chart in the IRS’s official 2848 instructions for information about where to file your form. 

You may need to attach additional documents when filing your Form 2848. For example, if you want to name more than four representatives, you’ll need to leave a note in the relevant section and attach an additional Form 2848 with information about the additional representative(s). 

Make sure all additional documents are attached with the original Form 2848, and that everything is completed accurately. 

Form 2848 FAQs

Hopefully, we’ve answered all the questions you may have had about Form 2848, but in case we haven’t, we’ll run through some of the most frequently asked questions in this section. 

What is the main purpose of IRS Form 2848, and when should I consider using it?

IRS Form 2848 authorizes a representative — e.g. an accountant — to act on behalf of a taxpayer in specific tax matters. You should use Form 2848 anytime your client needs professional representation in front of the IRS, such as for audits, appeals or collection issues.

What is the difference between IRS Form 2848 and IRS Form 8821?

Form 2848 grants you broad representative powers, allowing you to act on behalf of a taxpayer in dealings with the IRS. Form 8821, on the other hand, authorizes you to access a taxpayer’s tax-related information directly from the IRS.

Who is eligible to be named as a representative on Form 2848?

Eligible representatives include attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents and other qualified individuals recognized by the IRS. The representative must be in good standing with their licensing authority. Form 2848 also allows family members to be named as representatives. 

Are there any limitations to the authority of a representative named on Form 2848?

Yes, the authority granted is limited to the tax matters and periods outlined in the form.

What responsibilities do representatives have when using Form 2848?

Representatives must act in accordance with the taxpayer’s best interests and within the scope of the specific authorizations granted on the form.

Do I need to submit Form 2848 for every tax matter, or can it cover multiple issues?

Form 2848 can cover multiple tax matters, provided they are clearly specified on the form. 

Can I use Form 2848 to handle tax matters for a deceased family member?

You can use Form 2848 to represent a deceased family person. If you are filing their final tax return, for example, you’ll also need to complete Form 1040 and enter the decedent’s details, as well as all relevant information about their executor or representative. 

What is the process for using Form 2848 when dealing with incarcerated individuals?

Pretty much the same as for anyone else. You’ll need to complete the form and get the incarcerated person to sign and date it. The representative should be someone outside the correctional facility, and additional documentation may be needed for verification.

How and where should I submit IRS Form 2848 once it’s completed?

You can email your form using the IRS’s secure portal. Alternatively, you can mail or fax the completed form to the appropriate IRS office, as indicated in the official IRS instruction.

What happens if I make mistakes on Form 2848, and how can I correct them?

If you realize that your form contained errors after submitting it, you can file a corrected Form 2848 with the right information. 

Can I revoke or change the authority of a representative named on Form 2848?

Yes, you can revoke or change the authority granted to a representative by submitting a new Form 2848 with updated information. If you want to revoke a power of attorney without naming a new representative, you should write “REVOKE” across the top of the first page of your form 2848 and add a current signature.

Are there any fees associated with submitting Form 2848 to the IRS?

Generally, there are no fees associated with submitting Form 2848 to the IRS, other than the cost of physically mailing the form (if you choose that option). 


IRS Form 2848 is a critical document for both taxpayers and their designated representatives, allowing the former to grant authorization to the latter to act on their behalf in dealings with the IRS. When used effectively, it can unlock opportunities for professional representation, streamlined communication with the IRS and effective resolutions to tax-related challenges

With tax season now underway, we hope this guide has given you the information you need to leverage this vital document with confidence. 

Nicholas Edwards

As a content writer for TaxDome, Nicholas helps communicate how technology can transform and enhance everyday accounting processes. He enjoys simplifying complex ideas and writing content that’s accessible and useful.

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