Tips for Completing Form 2848 for Retirement Plan Matters

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Hi, I'm Mikio and I work for the Internal Revenue Service.

If you'd like to authorize a third party representative to represent you in connection with a retirement plan audit, determination letter application, or a Voluntary Correction Program submission, you must send in a Power of Attorney form. The form has recently changed and I have some tips for you on how to properly complete the form. 

First, make sure that you use the current revision of the Power of Attorney Form - Form 2848.  The most recent version is dated March 2012. You'll find the revision date in the upper left-hand corner of the form, directly under the form number. 

You can download a fillable PDF copy of the form from IRS.gov. You can also order a copy from the IRS by phone by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM.

The March 2012 revision of the Power of Attorney Form has some pretty significant changes. Let's go through some of the major changes.

Line 1 asks for taxpayer information. For a determination application or voluntary correction submission, this is the retirement plan sponsor. Be sure to enter the plan sponsor's taxpayer identification number and also the plan name and number.

For a Form 5500 examination, the taxpayer information should include the plan name and number and the plan sponsor's name, address and EIN. The plan and trust are two separate legal entities. Therefore, unless the employer is also the trustee, it is possible that a second Power of Attorney for the trust will be necessary if the examination includes trust assets.

Line 2 is where you enter the information for the plan representative. Be sure to check the box under the name and address if you want your representative to receive copies of communications from the IRS.  If it's not checked, the IRS will only fax or mail correspondence to the plan sponsor listed in line 1.

To the right of the name and address you'll see a line for a PTIN. This is for a preparer tax identification number. Most tax forms now require this number. If your representative has applied for, but not received a PTIN, enter "applied for." This number is not necessary if the form is for a Form 5500-series return, a voluntary correction submission or a determination letter application. However, it is necessary for a discrepancy adjustment.

Line 3 has changed from the title "Tax Matters" to "Matters" to reflect the use of the form for non-tax matters such as determination letters, closing agreements or the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System. Enter an explanation in the area titled "Description of Matter." The plan number is also required in this area. Enter the Tax Form Number and Years or Periods, if not applicable, enter "NA."

For a correction program submission, specify the Voluntary Correction Program or EPCRS as the tax matter. The form number is "N/A" for "not applicable."

Line 4 asks about special authorizations. IRS no longer records a Form 2848 covering an application for a determination letter on the IRS's Centralized Authorization File, or CAF. If you are completing the Form 2848 in connection with a determination letter request, be sure to check this box, and send in your Power of Attorney form with your determination letter application.

Line 5 allows you to specify which acts you are authorizing your representative to perform. Check all necessary additions and list any specific deletions in the area provided.

Line 6 on the March 2012 revision of the form was line 8 on the older revisions. Check this box if you want to revoke prior powers of attorney.

Line 7 has a significant change in that it only allows one signature. Spouses or former spouses must now each file their own Form 2848.

For your retirement plan matter, the power of attorney form should be signed by an officer of the plan sponsor authorized to act on behalf of the business.

Finally, under Part II, your representative must complete their designation and sign and date the form. Remember, the individual authorized must be a person eligible to practice before the IRS.

If you still have questions, please visit our website at www.IRS.gov/retirement or contact our Customer Accounts Services unit toll-free at 877-829-5500.