The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced a groundbreaking expansion over electronic access for taxpayers and tax preparers. The latest feature gives taxpayers the ability to designate who can represent them in disputes and view their tax records.
The new component for individual taxpayers allows them to authorize their preparer to view their tax account through a tax information authorization (TIA) request. They can also grant their tax pro a power of attorney (POA) to represent them before the IRS.
Initiating digital authorization requests
The new digital access feature allows tax preparers to initiate TIAs and POAs for customers at the new Tax Pro Account service at IRS.com. Once tax pros submit a request, they appear in the customer’s online account, where they:
- Can review the request
- Reject, or approve by simply clicking on a box
- Add an electronic signature, also by clicking a box
- Once approved, the request goes to the IRS
The new process promises to be much faster. Completed authorization requests go directly to the Centralized Authorization File database, bypassing manual processing. The IRS says most approvals are automatically recorded, while others may take up to 48 hours. The agency says these digital requests are simplified versions of Forms 2848 and 8821.
The new system seeks to reduce burdens on taxpayers and pros
The new features are available leading into the 2022 tax season as a way for taxpayers to use digital signatures for certain paper forms which can’t be filed electronically. The IRS had already expanded the types of acceptable electronic signatures for this year.
These efforts are partially in reaction to the pandemic by creating more convenient access for taxpayers and tax professionals. The agency says it has also stepped up its efforts to strengthen online protection against identity theft and fraud by cybercriminals.