IRS Form 2848: Essential Guide to Power of Attorney for Taxpayers


the Bench Tax Team


Reviewed by


March 26, 2024

This article is Tax Professional approved


The letter sits on the corner of your desk where it has been since you first opened it. Whenever you glance over, your stomach lurches like you had that monster under your bed when you were seven. You’re being audited, have unresolved tax debt, or your medical condition makes it hard to handle a phone call with the IRS. Or maybe the IRS opened a Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) examination.

What's Bench?
Online bookkeeping and tax filing powered by real humans.
Learn more
Friends don’t let friends do their own bookkeeping. Share this article.
Tired of doing your own books?
Try Bench

For whatever reason, delegating the task of talking to the IRS to someone else sounds exquisite right now. 

Granting Power of Attorney – What is IRS Form 2848?

However, if you want to delegate, the IRS requires you to file Form 2848 to give someone specific power of attorney. This is similar to the limited power of attorney you might complete if you want someone to make financial or medical decisions for you, but the federal Form 2848 only works to give authority to talk to the IRS about your taxes. And if you have other POAs, you can choose different people for each task. 

your CPA or attorney to talk to the IRS on your behalf. You could grant power of attorney to an immediate family member to speak to the IRS for you if you wanted. Or choose a professional like an enrolled actuary, the unenrolled return preparer who prepared your tax return, or the representative at your qualified Student Tax or Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. If you are having trouble with your retirement plan, you can name an enrolled retirement plan agent as your IRS power of attorney. If you need to talk to the IRS about your business, you can appoint a full-time employee or a corporate officer.

POA Doesn’t Change Everything

When you grant someone the authority to talk to the IRS on your behalf as part of your tax preparation and planning, it still leaves you with responsibilities. You are ultimately responsible for whatever taxes you owe and need to endorse any refund check yourself. Your IRS POA can’t change where you want your refund sent – like into their account instead of yours. You’ll need to specify if you want your IRS power of attorney to be able to substitute someone else if they aren’t going to continue working on your behalf. 

Signing Form 2848 gives your IRS POA representative the ability to see your confidential tax information and perform some limited tasks. They can sign an agreement for any tax return you specify on Form 2848, and they can sign your return if you are too ill or not in the country for more than two months before your return is due.

NOTE: Don’t sign Form 2848 if you only need to share confidential tax information (like with your lender when remortgaging your property). Form 8821 – Tax Information Authorization is adequate for that. 

Form 2848 sample(in .pdf)

IRS Form 2848 / Page 1
IRS Form 2848 / Page 2

Instructions – How to Complete Form 2848 - POA and Declaring a Representative

The last thing you need right now is more stress, so let’s look at how completing Form 2848 will be better than talking to the IRS yourself. 

Form 2848 asks for information like:

  • Your name, address, phone number, signature, and taxpayer identification or plan number(s).
  • Even if you and your spouse file joint returns, you both complete your own power of attorney forms. 
  • The names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, and signatures of one, two, three, or even four representatives, with their CAF or PTIN for professionals. (Don’t worry, they know their numbers and will fill them in for you!) A family member won’t have either of these numbers. 
  • The IRS only sends communications to two representatives, so check who will receive copies of any notices. 
  • A description of the matter(s) you want them to manage, including any tax form numbers and the year(s).
  • Acts you authorize your IRS POA representatives to perform, like seeing your confidential information, signing agreements, adding, changing representatives, or signing a return.
  • Any acts you do NOT authorize your representative(s) to perform.  
  • Confirmation that this form revokes all previous IRS POAs or attach a copy of any you want to remain in effect.
  • You aren’t stuck with a representative forever. Each one has an expiry date. To revoke a previous IRS power of attorney early without naming a new representative, write “REVOKE” across the top of the first page, sign, and date the form again and resubmit it. Representatives who want to withdraw do the same thing, only they write “WITHDRAW” across the top of the form. 

How to Submit a Form 2848 to the IRS for 2023

Choose one of three ways to submit Form 2848 to the IRS. You don’t need to send it in with your tax return. You may be able to use the online submission process, which requires you to authenticate your identity and provide a digital signature. 

Or choose to mail or fax in the form. The addresses and fax numbers vary depending on where you live, so check the Instructions for Form 2848 to find the right one. There’s a fax number and mailing address for each state and one for if you live anywhere outside the country. 

  • You can choose a family member or a professional as your IRS POA representative. 
  • The representative can’t do everything, but they can do enough to take away a lot of stress.
  • You can “REVOKE” the POA or your representative can “WITHDRAW” by submitting a new signed and dated form.
  • Send Form 2848 to the IRS by mail or fax based on where you live, or submit it online. 
  • You don’t have to handle every conversation with the IRS on your own. If you’re out of the country, dealing with an FBAR exam, have unresolved debt, or don’t feel well enough, granting someone power of attorney goes a long way to settle your stomach and get that dreaded letter off your desk!

    Still wondering if you need a power of attorney using Form 2848? The tax resolution experts at Bench can help. 

    This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.
    Friends don’t let friends do their own bookkeeping. Share this article.

    Join over 140,000 fellow entrepreneurs who receive expert advice for their small business finances

    Get a regular dose of educational guides and resources curated from the experts at Bench to help you confidently make the right decisions to grow your business. No spam. Unsubscribe at any time.