Power of Attorney

Shutterstock_9367348I can’t talk to anyone else about your tax return without your permission. This means your banker, broker or even your sister. Sorry, it’s a confidentiality matter. I take it seriously as does the IRS. Get me s signed request to release your info, and be specific about what I can release, I will be happy to help. But without the proper form, I can’t do much. For a onetime request I need a signed release, but if you want me to work with someone else like I work with you, I need a Power of Attorney (POA).

Just a note, this is not the IRS’s Form 2848 Power of Attorney. That one lets me talk to the IRS for you.

A warning – a Power of Attorney is a legal document and I’m not a lawyer. I can’t help anyone fill one out. The cost and the work needed will depend on your situation.

Once you get a POA done, hold on to it until you need someone else to take care of your taxes. Then have them bring it in when they bring in your tax papers. When I get a POA, I have to see a clause giving the holder the right to act for the taxpayer in tax matters. They have to be able to talk to me, sign the return and/or answer any questions I might have. I will keep a copy in my files but I need to know about any changes or new POA. I can only do what the POA allows me to do. If it doesn’t say the POA holder can sign the return, I can’t let them.

Example: Just because Son has a POA allowing him to handle Dad’s tax matters and sign any return does not mean that Dad can’t continue to take care of his own taxes. But, when he gets to a point Dad can’t handle his taxes, Son can step in with the POA. Then he brings me in the most recent POA and Dad’s tax documents and we do Dad’s tax returns.

When to do a POA:

  • Aging adult so that a child or family or friend can help them.
  • Medical issues so someone can help them with their taxes.
  • Military personnel (the Military will help service people get one written).
  • Out of the country or in jail but I would limit the POA to only what is needed. Like signatures.

When not to do a POA for taxes:

  • You don’t trust the person who will sign for you. Limit and monitor what they are doing in your name. Remember that if someone holding your POA signs for you could still be held accountable for what they signed in your name.
  • I have never seen a reason to have a POA naming parents to act for a dependent. But all bets are off when the child turns 18 years old.

A Power of Attorney can sit in the file cabinet or lock box for years then pulled out when it’s needed. And it’s a whole lot easier to do it before you need it.


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