IRS Launches Online Feature to Obtain Third-Party Authorizations
The IRS recently launched a new feature that will give taxpayers digital control over who can represent them or view their tax records, a groundbreaking step in the agency's expansion of electronic options for taxpayers and tax professionals.
The new feature, one of many recent enhancements to the Online Account for individuals, will allow individual taxpayers to authorize their tax practitioner to represent them before the IRS with a Power of Attorney (POA) and to view their tax accounts with a Tax Information Authorization (TIA).
Tax professionals may go to the new Tax Pro Account on IRS.gov to digitally initiate POAs and TIAs. These digital authorization requests are simpler versions of Forms 2848 and 8821.
Once completed and submitted by the tax professional, the authorization requests will appear in the taxpayers' Online Account for their review, approval or rejection and electronic signature. Because the taxpayers' identities already are verified at the time of login, they simply check a box as their signature and submit the authorization request to the IRS.
A key benefit is the completed digital authorization, if accurate, will go directly to the Centralized Authorization File (CAF) database and will not require manual processing. Most requests will be immediately recorded and appear on the list of approved authorizations in the taxpayer's Online Account and the tax professional's Tax Pro Account. Some authorizations may take up to 48 hours. Tax professionals may then go to e-Services Transcript Delivery Service to see the taxpayer's records.
This new digital authorization option will be a much faster process. It will allow the IRS to reduce its current CAF inventory and to focus on authorization requests received through fax, mail or the Submit Forms 2848 and 8821 Online – all of which require IRS personnel to handle.
To connect with their tax professionals, taxpayers either log in to their Online Account using their IRS username and password, or they must create an account after passing a one-time identity verification process. Taxpayers who cannot validate their identities cannot use this option, and their tax professional must use the fax, mail or online submission process. However, the IRS will be announcing a new process for this application later this year.
Tax professionals should use their IRS usernames and passwords to access the Tax Pro Account or create an account after verifying their identities.
This initial launch of the Tax Pro Account represents the first release of the tool. Over time, additional functionality will be added for taxpayers and tax professionals that will increase the options for electronic interactions.
Currently, the digital authorization process is available only to individual taxpayers, not businesses or other entities. Also, tax professionals must be in good standing with the IRS and already have a CAF number prior to making requests through Tax Pro Account. To initiate the authorizations, tax professionals must enter their personal information and their clients' personal information exactly as it appears on IRS tax records. Also, the feature is available only to those with addresses in the United States. Tax Pro Account is a separate tool from e-Services.