What Is Third Party Designee for Federal Tax Returns?

by Michael Keenan
You might want to name your tax preparer as a third-party designee on your return.

A third-party designee for federal tax returns is someone you authorize to discuss your return with the Internal Revenue Service. Typically, information about your tax returns is kept confidential by the IRS to protect your privacy. However, if you want the IRS to be able to talk to someone else, such as your tax preparer, accountant or lawyer, you can designate that person on your tax return.

Scope of Discussions

How you designate the third party determines how much the IRS can share with that person about your taxes. If you designate the third party on your tax return, the IRS can only discuss information about that specific tax return. For example, if you name your accountant on your 2013 tax return, the IRS can't divulge information about your 2012 tax return to your accountant, even though it might be relevant. For a more general designation, use Form 8821.

About the Author

Mark Kennan is a writer based in the Kansas City area, specializing in personal finance and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by "Quicken," "TurboTax," and "The Motley Fool."

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