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New power of attorney procedures.

The IRS recently issued a revised Form 2848, Power of Attorney; which provides authority for an attorney; CPA or enrolled agent to represent a taxpayer in matters before the IRS.

The revised POA's instructions require that--with respect to a joint federal income tax return filed by a married couple--a separate POA is required for each spouse. This new requirement was not widely publicized within the IRS, and some IRS personnel have initially rejected separate powers. In addition, the IRS has been unable to process POAs under the required new format. The IRS has indicated that it is rectifying the problem.

The reason for requiring a separate POA from each spouse is an attempt on the part of IRS to ensure that when a tax practitioner represents both spouses with respect to their joint filing that the practitioner has informed each taxpayer of potential conflicts of interest that may arise in the course of dual representation (including possible information "disclosure" issues with respect to each party). While securing separate POAs may be viewed as burdensome in many cases, IRS concluded that a uniform policy was necessary to ensure that potential conflicts are brought to every taxpayer's attention. It is important, as well, to note that often issues such as omitted or underreported income, or other significant, relevant tax information may not be known by one of the spouses, or by the tax practitioner at the time representation commences.

-- Kip Dellinger, CPA

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Title Annotation:revised form 2848
Author:Dellinger, Kip
Publication:California CPA
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2012
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