To represent a taxpayer before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you need a valid power of attorney (POA). This is accomplished by preparing and submitting a properly completed Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative pursuant to the Instructions for Form 2848. At some point, the representation will end (or it ends for certain matters and years but not for others). However, absent affirmative steps by the representative prevents the IRS from knowing that you no longer represent the taxpayer, and you may continue to receive IRS correspondence. This creates a potential issue because representatives should not be receiving taxpayer information if they no longer represent or provide legal advice to said taxpayer.
To avoid this, a representative can notify the IRS that they no longer represent the taxpayer and do not wish to receive any further correspondence, either for all matters and years or just certain ones. This is done by revoking your POA with the IRS. Revocation can be done in one of two ways. The first way is to mail or fax a copy of the POA to the IRS with the word “REVOKE” written across the top of the first page with a current signature and the date below this annotation. Alternatively, if the representative does not have a copy of Form 2848 or wishes to revoke several POAs at the same time, they can send the IRS a statement of revocation that indicates that the authority granted by the POA is revoked, lists the matters and years and lists the name and address of each recognized representative whose authority is revoked. If the representative is completing revoking authority, they can write “revoke all years/periods” instead of listing the specific matters and years.
For representatives who represent multiple taxpayers before the IRS, it may be difficult to recall all of the POAs they have filed with the IRS. However, a listing of all your POAs can be obtained by submitting a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the Centralized Authorization File (CAF)/Representative/Client listing. It’s a simple process, and the IRS provides the following Sample CAF Client Listing Request on its website:
Practitioner or company name Practitioner or company address Phone number (optional)
Dear Disclosure Manager:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I request that a copy of the CAF Representative/Client Listing be provided to me. I do not wish to inspect the documents first.
In order to determine my status for the applicability of fees, you should know that I am an “Other” requester seeking information for non-commercial or personal use. I am a tax professional and my CAF number is XXXXXXX. (This is not your Enrolled Agent Number)
I am including a valid photo identification which includes my signature as proof of identity.
Send listing as a paper document. I am willing to pay copying fees for this request up to a maximum of $XX (fill in amount). If you estimate that the fees will exceed this limit, please contact me prior to completing my request. (There is no charge for the first 100 pages and $.20 per page thereafter).
Send listing on CD as a text file using Windows NotePad.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Sincerely, [your signature]
Once the request is submitted, you can expect to receive a quick response (our latest request was returned within one week). After receiving the CAF listing, you should review carefully and revoke any POAs that are no longer needed.
Practice Point: Every representative who practices before the IRS should be diligent in ensuring that POAs are revoked when no longer needed. As noted above, this is a straightforward process. Representatives who have not revoked each POA when an engagement is completed should consider making a request for the CAF listing and taking the appropriate steps to withdraw POAs as necessary. This simple exercise will avoid any potential issues with receiving taxpayer information and will ensure that the IRS does not view you as the taxpayer’s representative. Representatives may also want to consider making an annual request for their CAF listing to ensure that the IRS has processed and updated its files to reflect prior revocations.