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jello77
Level 2

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

A Power of Attorney gives me authority to “prepare and sign tax returns” for my father. 

The IRS says that, as my father’s POA agent, I can submit a tax return if he's “unable to sign the return due to . . . disease or injury.”

But I’m confused about exactly how to use TurboTax for this.

I searched for the answer on Google and on the TurboTax site.

I found 3 completely different answers which contradict each other.

(1)  For a return submitted by e-file, some people say that if the POA gives you authority to “prepare & sign” a person’s tax returns, and the person has given you his TurboTax password and Signature PIN, you can submit the return by e-file with no additional steps. Some people say they have done this for years with no problem. 

(2)  For a return submitted on paper, some people say that you can sign the return like this:  Sam Smith by Jane Doe POA. If IRS wants a copy of the POA, they will ask for it. Some people say they have done this for years and IRS has never asked for the POA.

(3)  Some people say that to be completely correct and “official,” if you e-file a return for someone else, you must mail a paper copy of forms 2848 and 8453 to the IRS. Form 2848 is the IRS’s own version of a POA. Form 8453 is needed whenever mailing a paper document related to an e-filed return.

Of course, I would prefer to use Method (1).  Is that OK to use, or is it illegal? 

Is Method (2) OK to use?

Or is method (3) the only legal way to do it?

1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
Rick19744
Level 12

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

I believe that option 3 is the correct method and the one that should be used:

The instructions to the 1040 page 25 specifically address this:

If your return is signed by a representative for you, you must have a power of attorney attached that specifically authorizes the representative to sign your return. To do this, you can use Form 2848.

You would include a copy of the form 2848 if you are filing a paper version.  If efiling, you would attach the form 2848 to the form 8453.

Form 8453 has a specific box to check if you are attaching a POA indicating that the individual has authority to sign the tax return:

Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative (or POA that states the agent is granted authority to sign the return)

I would also recommend when you send in the form 8453 with the POA that you send this certified mail return receipt requested.  That way you know that it was received by the IRS; inexpensive insurance !!

*A reminder that posts in a forum such as this do not constitute tax advice.*

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25 Replies
Rick19744
Level 12

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

I believe that option 3 is the correct method and the one that should be used:

The instructions to the 1040 page 25 specifically address this:

If your return is signed by a representative for you, you must have a power of attorney attached that specifically authorizes the representative to sign your return. To do this, you can use Form 2848.

You would include a copy of the form 2848 if you are filing a paper version.  If efiling, you would attach the form 2848 to the form 8453.

Form 8453 has a specific box to check if you are attaching a POA indicating that the individual has authority to sign the tax return:

Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative (or POA that states the agent is granted authority to sign the return)

I would also recommend when you send in the form 8453 with the POA that you send this certified mail return receipt requested.  That way you know that it was received by the IRS; inexpensive insurance !!

*A reminder that posts in a forum such as this do not constitute tax advice.*
macuser_22
Level 15

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

#1 "Some people say they have done this for years with no problem."  People pass me on the freeway every day going 90MPH and get away with it - that does not make it legal (and some get caught).   But you did not ask what you might be able to get away with, but what is legal.

I agree with Rick,  You can e-file and then mail the 8453 with the 2848 attached within 3e days of e-fileing, or just mail file the signed return with the 2848 attached.

Rich pointed you to the IRS filing instructions, also see IRS Pub 947 page 3-4 that covers the use of form 2848 by family members who are not tax professionals.
<a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p947.pdf">https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p947.pdf</a>
**Disclaimer: This post is for discussion purposes only and is NOT tax advice. The author takes no responsibility for the accuracy of any information in this post.**
jello77
Level 2

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

Many thanks for your help.

I have Form 2848 but am unsure how to fill it out.

I’ve read all the instructions but they are confusing.

I hope you can help with the following questions.

————————

LINE 1 is for my name, address, & phone.

————————

LINE 3 is for “Acts authorized.”  Should I enter this?

Matter =  Income
Form =  1040
Year =   2018

————————

LINE 4 says “Specific use not recorded on CAF.”  

Am I right in assuming this box should NOT be checked?

————————

LINE 5a is for “Additional acts authorized.”  

I assume I should check the box on Line 5a that is marked:   Sign a return.

The instructions also seem to say that I should add these words to the empty area in Line 5a:

This power of attorney is being filed pursuant to 26 CFR 1.6012-1(a)(5), which requires a power of attorney to be attached to a return if a return is signed by an agent by reason of:  Disease or injury.

Is this correct?

Page 8 of IRS Publication 947 says this:

A power of attorney is generally terminated if you become incapacitated or in- competent. The power of attorney can continue, however, in the case of your incapacity or incompetency if you authorize this on line 5a “Other acts authorized” of the Form 2848.

Does this mean I should also add words like these to Line 5a:

This power of attorney continues in effect in the event of my incapacity or incompetency.

————————

LINE 6 says:  You must attach a copy of any power of attorney you want to remain in effect.

I want the POA to remain in effect with the IRS until he dies.

Does this mean I should attach my father's POA to 2848?

————————

If my father is too incapacitated to sign Form 2848, is it OK for me to sign as POA agent as authorized by the original POA he created?

If so, how should I sign the form? There seems to be several format that POA agents can use:

Jane Doe POA
Sam Smith by Jane Doe POA
Jane Doe POA for Sam Smith

Does the IRS require a certain format for POA signatures?  

————————

If I understand correctly, after submitting Form 2848 for the first time, it will be entered on the Centralized Authorization File (CAF) system.

I will get a letter from IRS with a CAF number.

After receiving the number, I assume I must enter it on any future 2848 form.

Do I need to submit Forms 2848 and 8453 every year?

Page 9 of IRS Publication 947 seems to say that CAF numbers expire after 3 years.

But I’m not sure about this.
Rick19744
Level 12

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

Recommendations as follows:
1) Complete line 1; this is your father's information
2) Do not complete line 2 since you are not eligible to practice before the IRS.
3) Complete line 3; income, 1040, 2018-2020.  You are allowed prospective years but I don't recommend more than 3 years.  This means you will need to complete another after 2020.
4) Line 4; check the box
5) Line 5a; check the box to sign the tax return; add the language noted in the instructions including the disease or injury as you noted; however, eliminate the last sentence noted in the instructions.
6) Line 5a other acts; I would add the language "Allow Jane Doe to perform all acts necessary to address any income tax matter related to form 1040 which includes discussing any income tax matter with the IRS for the years noted above"
7) Line 6 leave blank.  This is only applicable if you already have an existing POA on file with the IRS.
😎 Sign as noted by your option 2 above; Sam Smith by Jane Doe POA.  I would recommend that you also include a copy of the POA document you have; I am assuming you have a court approved POA document.  Attach this as well.
9) Complete Part II using code "f" in column 1, columns 2 and 3 will be blank, sign and date
*A reminder that posts in a forum such as this do not constitute tax advice.*
Rick19744
Level 12

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

I have to be honest here, I have never seen a completed form 2848 for anyone other than an individual who could be listed in section 2.
So essentially, I provided what I believe to be accurate, but not 100% sure.
The IRS may have questions, but that is why I recommended you include your court approved POA.
*A reminder that posts in a forum such as this do not constitute tax advice.*
jello77
Level 2

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

Thanks for your help, Rick.

You recommend attaching copy of POA to the 2848. I can see why this is needed because otherwise IRS has no evidence that I have authority to sign the 2848 for my father.

However, this raises another issue. If I e-file the return, the 2848 must be mailed attached behind 8453. The 8453 form has is a specific list of Forms that can be attached, and I must check the box for Form 2848. However, the instructions for 8453 say:

Don't attach any form or document that isn't shown next to the checkboxes. If you are required to mail in any documentation not listed on Form 8453, you can't file the tax return electronically.

This seems to say that I can't attach the POA to the 8453 along with the 2848, and therefore I can't e-file the return. Instead, I must send a paper copy of 1040 along with the 2848 and the POA document.

Is this correct?  Or am I misunderstanding something?
rjs
Level 15
Level 15

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

The check box on Form 8453 says "Form 2848 . . . or POA that states the agent is granted authority to sign the return." I take that to mean that the POA is an acceptable attachment to Form 8453. If you want to e-file, I would mail in Form 8453 with Form 2848 and the POA attached.
jello77
Level 2

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

rjs, many thanks for your answer. I overlooked that text on the form.
jello77
Level 2

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

One more question:  do I need to mail the 2848, 8453, and POA every year?
Rick19744
Level 12

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

Yes based on current provisions.
Now back to the Santa watch !!!!
*A reminder that posts in a forum such as this do not constitute tax advice.*
gerald30004
New Member

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

Item 2 above is NOT correct. As a family member, you can practice according to page 4 of IRS publication 947.
Rick19744
Level 12

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

Agree.  Thanks for pointing that out.  Just not what is typically seen.
*A reminder that posts in a forum such as this do not constitute tax advice.*
ScruffyCurmudgeon
Level 8

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

Note that the processing of filing a Form 1040, a Form 2848, and a Form 8453 actually results in the three filings going to three totally different processing offices of the IRS.

Best practice from previous years' experience - always file Form 8453, as noted below given the use of TurboTax which does not forward the 8453.  Additionally, if you are acting as an appointed Guardian, file Form 56 with the Form 1040.

The Form 1040 goes to the normally assigned site based on state of residency where the form is scanned (assuming it was a mailed return).

The Form 2848 goes a department of the IRS known as Entity Dept. with main office in Ogden but also in Memphis and Philadelphia.  This is the office, and probably the only office, that permanently retains the notice of POA.

If you are using TurboTax, the Form 8453 must go to  Austin, TX, within three days of notification of acceptance from the IRS of the Form 1040 being received.
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Rick19744
Level 12

How do I use Power of Attorney to submit a tax return for my incapacitated father?

I don't agree with this comment.

First, the OP will be efiling the return as noted above as they will use option #3 in their original question
Second, the court approved POA and the 2848 will be attached to the form 8453 and these will be mailed together to the mailing address noted in the instructions to the form 8453.
This is no different than any other approved attachment to the form 8453.
The OP is not sending the form 2848 in separately.
*A reminder that posts in a forum such as this do not constitute tax advice.*

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