By Julie Dale, CPA-Austin
As CPAs wishing to assist our clients in the most efficient manner, we often are thwarted with issues in responding to IRS correspondence. One such hurdle is with delays in the IRS’ processing of Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. The IRS must have a valid Form 2848 on file for us to obtain the data on our client’s account to resolve a tax notice. The IRS recommends that we fax the Form 2848 to 855-214-7522 (for Texas residents) to expedite processing rather than mailing it. However, even fax is proving to be an ineffective filing method.
In the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2012 Annual Report to Congress, Nina Olson provides statistics in “Most Serious Problem #16, IRS Processing Flaws and Service Delays Continue to Undermine Fundamental Taxpayer Rights to Representation.” The report indicates that Form 2848 filings increased by 89 percent between fiscal years 2004 and 2012 with the number of dedicated employees responsible for processing these forms actually decreasing by 34 percent. The IRS’ timeframe for processing the form increased 233 percent, from three calendar days in 2010 to 10 days, due in part to the decrease in staffing levels.
TSCPA's Federal Tax Policy Committee is aware of a recent instance where a Form 2848 was successfully faxed more than two months before an attempt to access information through IRS e-Services, which failed due to the Centralized Authorization File (CAF) check indicating that the CPA was not approved to access the data.
Most CPAs cringe at the thought of calling the IRS. Issues with IRS customer service calls leave us frustrated, such as waiting on hold to fax a Form 2848 to an IRS agent only to receive a “courtesy disconnect.” We may have to accept this burden and call the IRS Practitioner Priority Service at 866-860-4259. This is a dedicated line for tax practitioners. The hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time. The best times to call are generally early morning or late afternoon. Even if a Form 2848 is not on record, you are allowed to fax the form to the IRS agent so that he or she can assist you with your client’s account. The agent always asks if you want the CAF unit to process the form as well.
We hope that this recommendation will assist you in being able to better serve your clients during the busiest time of year.