Meg Monk
Meg Monk

Getting authorized to offer tax resolution isn’t a complicated process, especially if you’re already a certified enrolled agent, CPA, or attorney. In fact, in just three steps, you can become authorized to represent tax resolution clients and start doubling your monthly income with tax resolution cases.

Step 1: Become an enrolled tax preparer

If you want to start offering tax resolution services, you will have to be certified as either a CPA, a tax attorney, or an enrolled agent, which are all designated by the IRS as able to represent clients in tax disputes. Becoming an enrolled agent (EA) is the only option that doesn’t require at least a bachelor’s degree, but you do still have to prove competency.

If you want to become an EA, first you need to obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).

Then you need to pass a comprehensive three-part exam that tests your knowledge of tax law and processes. This exam, known as the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE), covers individuals, businesses, and representation, practice, and procedures. Participants must pass each of the parts within three years to earn their license. There’s no educational requirement or hourly threshold that qualifies a person to become an EA, just the exam itself.

Once you’ve passed the exam, you must go through a background check administered by the IRS. Every three years after that, the EA must keep up on continuing education credits throughout their career.

Step 2: Get your CAF number

A Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number is a nine-digit number assigned to you by the IRS the first time you file a Power of Attorney or a Tax Information Authorization. The number is used by the IRS to track your requests for client information, such as transcripts.

The first time you file a Power of Attorney or Tax Information Authorization, simply write “none” in the space designated for your CAF number, and the IRS will send you a letter with your CAF number. You will only have to apply for a CAF number once, and will use the same CAF number for each case going forward.

Step 3: Obtain Power of Attorney

The only other legal paperwork you need to have in order to do tax resolution work is Form 2848, Power of Attorney. Having Power of Attorney gives you the legal right to represent your client before the IRS. A new Power of Attorney will have to be filed for each client. To obtain Power of Attorney follow these steps:

  • Send your completed Form 2848 to the IRS. Depending on how much time you have, you can submit this form in several ways. First, you can mail it, which takes at least a week. Second you can fax it, which takes 5-7 business days for processing. And lastly, you have the option of faxing your form while you’re on the phone with an IRS agent. During the call, you can request transcripts to help you get started on the case, but you won’t be able to represent your client to the IRS until the Power of Attorney request is processed.

Keep in mind, you can use Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, to access your client’s transcripts without having Power of Attorney on file, but you won’t be able to represent your client before the IRS in any way until Form 2848 is on file.

Congratulations! Once you have completed these three steps, you're ready to start representing your tax resolution clients. 

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