The IRS Power of Attorney to Sign Tax Returns

by Trudie Longren
You can designate someone to sign your tax returns on your behalf.

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives another individual the full or limited authority to transact business in your name. The Internal Revenue Service permits taxpayers to designate another person to represent them before the IRS and to sign official IRS documents and tax returns. The Internal Revenue Code also specifies the conditions under which another person can sign your return on your behalf.

Designating a Representative

To assign a representative before the Internal Revenue Service, you must first name the person as your representative and grant them the Power of Attorney. Form 2848 is the official IRS document used to designate your representative. You must fill in contact details and other information and check the third box in Part I, Section 5 "Acts authorized" to give your representative the authority to sign your returns.

Conditions for Signature

Internal Revenue Service regulations govern the conditions under which a representative can sign your income tax return. The first condition is that the Internal Revenue Code must permit a representative to sign the return. The second condition is that the taxpayer has authorized the representative's signature in a Power of Attorney.

Code Permissions

The Internal Revenue Code permits a representative to sign on your behalf under specific circumstances. A representative may sign the tax return if the taxpayer is unable to sign due to: disease, injury or continuous absence from the United States, including Puerto Rico, for a period of at least 60 days prior to the filing date. Taxpayers may also be granted special permission to have a representative sign their income tax return if they show good cause to the Internal Revenue Service.

Other Conditions

When an income tax return is signed by a representative, a copy of the Power of Attorney must accompany the return. A complete Form 2848 is sufficient to meet this condition. In the case of married couples filing a joint income tax return, each spouse must sign a separate Form 2848 naming a representative as Power of Attorney.

About the Author

Trudie Longren began writing in 2008 for legal publications, including the "American Journal of Criminal Law." She has served as a classroom teacher and legal writing professor. Longren holds a bachelor's degree in international politics, a Juris Doctor and an LL.M. in human rights. She also speaks Spanish and French.

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