Power of Attorney (POA) and Paid Preparers

A POA lets you authorize your paid preparer to help handle your taxes. Learn how a POA can make filing your taxes easier.

POA

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

DOR can only release tax information to representatives if they provide a valid POA.

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.

Form M-2848 and POA

With a Form M-2848, a taxpayer can indicate the extent to which he or she is represented by a POA (such as, the tax type or periods) and name one or more representatives.

A representative cannot receive the taxpayer's refund.

Revocation of Form M-2848

A new form must be filed to revoke POA or make changes to the existing form filed. To revoke in its entirety without executing a new POA, the taxpayer should submit a signed statement of intention to revoke to the bureau with which the form was originally filed.

A family member isn’t an authorized representative without a signed POA form. However, husband/wife can be one if a joint return was filed. As well, a parent is can be one acting on behalf of a minor child.

Form ABT - POA Included

For taxpayer and practitioner convenience, the M-2848 has been incorporated on the second page of Form ABT. The POA is only good for tax periods specified and issues covered on the particular CA-6.

Preparer Authorization on Tax Return - Personal Income

If you want to authorize a preparer to discuss your Form 1 return, you will need to fill in the Yes oval.  This is especially important is the preparer signed the return without submitting a signed POA. 

This authorization doesn’t bind the taxpayer to the preparer to represent him/her for other DOR issues; a Form M-2848 can still be filed to expand the preparer's authorization.

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

For example:

Tax Year

Return Due

Paid Preparer Expires

2016

April 15, 2017

April 15, 2018

2017

April 15, 2018

April 15, 2019

Paid preparer authorization on tax return permits DOR to:

  • Request paid preparer to submit any information that is missing from the return;
  • Call the paid preparer about any return discrepancies.

Paid preparer authorization on tax return permits the tax preparer to:

  • Call DOR for information on the processing of the return;
  • Call DOR for the status of the refund or payment(s);
  • Respond to certain DOR notices about math errors, offsets and return preparation.


Paid preparer authorization on tax return limitations include the following:

  • It is only for the individual paid preparer who signed the return, not for other preparers from the same company or firm;
  • 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.


Paid Preparer, POA Not Available - DOR Limitations:

If there is no executed POA or paid preparer authorization, DOR employees can only verify whether returns were filed with a "Yes" or "No" answer. This information can be given over the telephone. However, DOR can’t give out:

  • Line item information
  • An address.

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 often occurs when the taxpayer has difficulty speaking English.

DOR can 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.

To request additional information, a taxpayer may submit the request in writing to:

Disclosure Office
Massachusetts Department of Revenue
100 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA 02114

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