Representative Must Personally Sign Form 2848

In Chief Counsel Advice 201544024 the Chief Counsel’s office ruled that it was not permissible for one representative on a Form 2848 to sign the Form 2848 on behalf of another representative.

In the case discussed, there were three representatives appointed on the Form 2848 to represent the taxpayer.  However, one of the representatives had not personally signed the form, but rather another representative signed the form “on behalf” of the third representative when the document was completed.

The facts of the notice explain this as follows:

The three representatives designated on the Form 2848 represent many other taxpayers on research credit refund issues. The revenue agent was advised that the third representative who did not personally sign the Form 2848 in the present case typically does not personally sign the Form 2848 in other cases either because he is often out of the office and relies on one of the other designated representatives to sign Part II of the Form 2848 on his behalf.

Unfortunately, the National Office concluded, that is not effective to appoint the third representative.

In the case in question the representative who did sign on behalf of the other representative just signed his own name on the line for the third representative and did not indicate he was signing on behalf of the third representative.  As well, the Form 2848 Section 5(a), Part I did not provide that representatives had the power to appoint another representative.

The memorandum notes that Section 601.502(c) of the procedural rules require each representative a written declaration signed under penalty of perjury providing:

  • He/she is not currently under suspension or disbarred;
  • He/she is aware of Circular 230;
  • He/she is authorized to represent the client; and
  • He/she holds a credential that authorizes him/her to be appointed a representative (or has another relationship that allows for appointment)

The memorandum asserts that “[t]he declaration's purpose is defeated by having someone sign the declaration on behalf of another.”

The memorandum concludes:

Section 601.502(c) states the representative "must" provide the requested declaration. It is inconsistent with the purposes of Declaration of Representative and impermissible for one representative to sign the declaration on behalf of another. The Form 2848 should be rejected as to the representative who did not personally sign the Declaration of Representative and the Service should correct the Centralized Authorization File.