614.1. In General
To protect the confidentiality of tax records, Massachusetts law generally prohibits the Department of Revenue (“DOR”) from disclosing tax return information to anyone other than the taxpayer or his or her representative. G.L. c. 62C, § 21(a). In general, DOR can only release tax information to a representative if (1) the taxpayer accompanies the representative to a DOR office and the taxpayer consents to the release, (2) the representative holds a valid Form M-2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, or (3) the representative provides an alternative power of attorney described in 614.5 below.
Except as noted in 614.5 below, DOR generally will only accept powers of attorney executed on Form M-2848. Form M-2848 is available on DOR’s website, www.mass.gov/dor, at Tax Forms and Instructions.
Limited powers of attorney may be granted on Income Tax Returns and Form ABT, Applications for Abatement, which provide authorization only with respect to the tax years at issue on that particular document. Additionally, a taxpayer may designate a third party on MassTaxConnect to file, pay, or amend his tax returns, and view certain account level information. Through MassTaxConnect (MTC), an authorized third party may also send and receive secure messages about a taxpayer’s account and may file a post-assessment dispute on the taxpayer’s behalf. However, Form M-2848 is required for a representative to request a taxpayer’s tax return information (beyond what is visible to a third party on MassTaxConnect), receive taxpayer correspondence, file a pre-assessment dispute, represent a taxpayer in a conference, hearing, or settlement discussion at the Office of Appeals, and to execute certain documents.
614.2. Filing the Power of Attorney
There is no central power of attorney office within DOR. It is not necessary to file a power of attorney with DOR unless the taxpayer is currently involved in a matter requiring contact with DOR employees. Usually, the power of attorney will follow the taxpayer's file through the various offices of DOR. The taxpayer may, however, be requested to file new copies of the power of attorney by any DOR offices that become involved with the taxpayer's case.
DOR will accept a photocopied power of attorney or a power of attorney transmitted by fax or e-mail, but reserves the right to require an original power of attorney. A completed power of attorney may also be uploaded as an attachment in MTC. A power of attorney may only be used for the taxpayer(s), tax types, and tax years or tax periods listed on the form.
614.3. Effect of the Power of Attorney
A taxpayer can use Form M-2848 to indicate the extent to which he or she authorizes disclosure (e.g., only certain tax types or periods) and can name one or more representatives. The powers granted extend to any matter affecting the tax type and period specifically referred to in the power of attorney unless the taxpayer limits the powers. Generally, a representative having a power of attorney can perform any act that can be performed by the taxpayer, unless the taxpayer indicates specific exclusions to these general powers on the Form M-2848. A representative cannot delegate to another representative a power of attorney granted by the taxpayer unless the taxpayer specifically granted that power to the representative. A refund check will always be issued in the name of the taxpayer(s) and will not be made payable to a representative.
614.4. Revoking or Changing the Power of Attorney
To change a representative, alter the power given to a representative, or revoke a power of attorney, a taxpayer should file a new Form M-2848 and indicate these changes. The new power of attorney will revoke the earlier power with respect to the tax types and tax periods specified on the earlier power, unless the revoking power of attorney specifically states otherwise.
An attorney or an accountant that has been granted a power of attorney who then changes their place of employment must submit a new power of attorney reflecting that change. To revoke a power of attorney without filing a new Form M-2848, the taxpayer should submit a signed statement indicating his or her intention to revoke to DOR using MassTaxConnect. The taxpayer must state the name and address of each representative whose authority is revoked.
614.5. Alternative Power of Attorney Forms
While DOR generally requires Form M-2848, DOR may, in very limited circumstances, accept an alternative to Form M-2848 at its discretion if the alternative contains information similar to that requested on Form M-2848. Alternative power of attorney forms may be subject to additional review and may cause a delay in processing. Any questions involving the validity of a power of attorney or other written authorization should be referred to a disclosure attorney in the Litigation Bureau by calling (617) 626-3225.
Reporting agents or bulk filers (such as payroll service companies) are encouraged to contact DOR's Call Center at (617) 887-6367 regarding any special requirements or forms.