Power of Attorney (POA) and Third-Party Authorization

Taxpayers can authorize someone else to handle their taxes. Learn about the different types of third-party authorization.

Updated: March 21, 2023

Table of Contents

Disclosure of tax return information

To protect the confidentiality of tax records, Massachusetts law generally allows DOR to disclose tax return information only to taxpayers or their authorized representatives.

Without authorization from the taxpayer, DOR can only verify whether tax returns were filed with a "Yes" or "No" answer. No line item or address information can be provided.

Unauthorized disclosure of tax information is prohibited. Violation of this statute is punishable by:

  • A fine of not more than $1,000, or
  • Imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both, and
  • Disqualification from holding office in Massachusetts for a period not to exceed 3 years.

A taxpayer can authorize a third party to have access to their tax return and tax account information in several ways.  This page explains the different types of third-party authorization.

Power of Attorney, Form M-2848

With a Form M-2848, you can give another individual the power to represent you before DOR and to perform any act you can perform. You are required to indicate the extent to which you authorize disclosure (e.g., certain tax types, and tax years or periods listed on the form) and can name one or more representative to act as your power of attorney (POA).    

Please note that Form M-2848 does not allow access to your accounts on MassTaxConnect. You can find information below regarding  Third-Party Authorization through MassTaxConnectNote also that a representative cannot receive your refund.

When completing the Form M-2848 you must either (a) list each tax type, or (b) write the words “all tax types,” and either (a) list each tax year, or (b) write the words “all tax years.” This indicates the extent to which you authorize disclosure to your POA.

A family member acting as a POA requires a signed Form M-2848 except when a parent is acting on behalf of a minor child. If a joint return was filed, either spouse can discuss that return with DOR.

A completed, signed Form M-2848 may be submitted to a specific person you are working with at DOR (such as a collector or auditor). You may also upload the completed and signed form through MassTaxConnect or submit it by email to POADOR@dor.state.ma.us or via fax to 617-660-3995.  

Please allow 2 business days for the Form M-2848 to be attached to your account. Note that a Form M-2848, submitted through MassTaxConnect or via email or fax, can only be attached to an account if you have previously registered with DOR through MassTaxConnect or have filed a tax return in Massachusetts.

To revoke a POA or make changes to the existing form, you must file a new Form M-2848. If you would like to revoke a POA in its entirety without executing a new one, submit a signed statement of intention to revoke to the specific person you are working with at DOR, through MassTaxConnect or submit it by email to POADOR@dor.state.ma.us or via fax to 617-660-3995.

Filing an appeal

For taxpayer and practitioner convenience, a limited Power of Attorney is incorporated into Form ABT, Application for Abatement. This POA is only good for the tax periods specified and the issues covered in the particular appeal.

With third-party access to MassTaxConnect, a practitioner may file an appeal on behalf of a taxpayer, however, a completed Form M-2848 should be attached to the appeal for the practitioner to represent the taxpayer in their appeal and to receive information or communications relating to the appeal.

Paid tax preparer authorization on tax return

You can authorize a preparer to discuss your income tax return with DOR by filing in the oval below the preparer's signature. 

This authorization is only valid for one year; it expires on the day the following year’s tax return is due.

Paid preparer authorization on a tax return permits DOR to:

  • Request any information that is missing from the return
  • Discuss any return discrepancies
  • Discuss the status of a refund or payment(s)
  • Discuss DOR notices related to the return including   offsets and adjustments 


Paid preparer authorization on a tax return is limited as follows: 

  • It is limited to the individual paid preparer who signed the return, or their whole firm if the oval is filled in;
  • It doesn't authorize DOR to issue refund checks to the tax preparer;
  • It can't be revoked but will expire no later than the due date (without regard to extension) for filing the next year's tax return.
  • It can’t be used to authorize the preparer to represent the taxpayer in a tax appeal.

Verbal representation

The DOR may discuss tax information with someone other than the taxpayer only if:

  • The taxpayer calls in,
  • Verifies that he or she is, in fact, the taxpayer and
  • Requests that DOR speak with someone who is either in the same room as the taxpayer or
  • Is on the same phone line as the taxpayer.

This situation may occur when the taxpayer has difficulty speaking or understanding English.

DOR may verify that the taxpayer is on the line by requesting:

  • His or her Social Security number,
  • Address and
  • Last year's tax refund or payment.

Third-party authorization through MassTaxConnect

Taxpayers or their authorized representatives (third party) can make tax payments, view copies of notices sent by DOR, send secure messages to DOR and file appeals online through MassTaxConnect. Most business tax returns can also be filed through MassTaxConnect.

If third-party access is set up, the third party will have access through their own account and password to a taxpayer's account, as authorized by the taxpayer.

Third-party-access is initiated in MassTaxConnect by the authorized representative for the taxpayer to approve and grant access. Approval is completed through MassTaxConnect or with a paper authorization form.

 

For more information about third-party access visit: 

Username and password setup

DOR strongly recommends that taxpayers, whether businesses or individuals, choose their own username and password and take responsibility for their MassTaxConnect account and the access rights granted to third parties. There are many security risks when a third party impersonates a taxpayer or when passwords are shared.  

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