Many people are afraid of the Internal Revenue Service. Some haven’t paid tax returns for several years and owe Uncle Sam a large sum in taxes, others are intimidated by their lack of tax knowledge, and some are just scared by the agency’s reputation.
But if you have a tax problem, it won’t go away simply by ignoring it. If you don’t feel like you have the time or resources to handle the matter yourself, you can have someone step in and get the information necessary to help resolve the issue and represent you with the IRS.
There are many levels of professionals that can assist in solving a tax problem, including an attorney, a certified public accountant or an enrolled agent. You could also ask a colleague or even assign the job to Aunt Martha.
To have someone else handle a tax problem, simply complete and submit IRS Form 2848 Power of Attorney to the IRS. Part II, items a-r of the Power of Attorney details who is qualified to represent you. Do not make up your own agreement or use a legal boiler-plate form, the IRS will only recognize its own special form. Once you complete the Power of Attorney, fax it to the IRS (Click on the link below to find out the fax number for your area: Power of Attorney Transmittal Fax Numbers)
If you and your spouse file a joint tax return and the matters to be discussed involve those tax returns, you will have to complete a separate Power of Attorney for each taxpayer.
If you want someone to only obtain your confidential tax information but not speak on your behalf, you can complete and submit IRS Form 8821 Tax Information Authorization. This is used usually to speak to the IRS collections division to discover pending action on your account.
If all you want is to obtain copies of previously filed income tax returns, you needn’t have a representative obtain the information for you. Instead submit IRS Form 4506. The instructions that accompany the form will indicate where to mail it. It will cost $57 per tax return to obtain a copy. And it will take approximately 60 days for them to complete the request.
IRS Form 4506-T is a request for a transcript of your tax return information or a statement of your account. It’s free of charge, and if you have not filed your tax returns, you may want to submit this form. You can also call the agency at 1-800-908-9946 to order one. There is also a self-help tool under “Tools” on the IRS Home Page which you can use to order a transcript.
The IRS will provide you with all of the documentation it has received regarding the tax year(s) in question - W-2 information, 1099 information, verification of non-filing, and record of account. If it was submitted to the IRS, they have copies and will provide them to you so you can prepare your tax return.
IRS Form 56 Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship is used to notify the IRS if you are handling the affairs of a deceased family member or if you find yourself the administrator of a trust. In the case of the deceased family member, file this form with the final tax return.
Bonnie Lee is an enrolled agent admitted to practice and representing taxpayers in all 50 states at all levels within the Internal Revenue Service. She is the owner of Taxpertise in Sonoma, Calif., and the author of Entrepreneur Press book, “Taxpertise, The Complete Book of Dirty Little Secrets and Hidden Deductions for Small Business that the IRS Doesn't Want You to Know.” Her new e-book Taxpertise for the Creative Mind Murder, Mayem, Romance, Comedy and Tax Tips for Artists of all Kinds is available at all major booksellers. Follow Bonnie Lee on Twitter and on Facebook.