Ask the Advocate March 2019 Tax News

Top Power of Attorney and Tax Information Authorization rejections

Susan Maples, Taxpayers' Rights Advocate.

Susan Maples, CPA
Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate
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As the Taxpayer Advocate, one of my primary responsibilities is coordinating FTB’s education and outreach efforts to tax professionals. My staff and I take these efforts seriously and share a strong commitment to this.  We always look for useful information to pass along to you, especially when it comes to helping you navigate FTB’s many processes and procedures. We know that you want to provide the best possible service to your clients and we’re here to help you do that.

One area where FTB focused a lot of attention this past year was on Power of Attorney (POAs) and Tax Information Authorization (TIAs). You are probably aware that FTB had a major effort underway in 2018 to streamline and improve the POAs and TIAs processes surrounding. We’ve seen some successes and I have heard many positive comments about these changes from tax professionals.  While we cannot guarantee that every POA or TIA submitted will move quickly through the process and be approved, our rejection rates have declined substantially and our processing timeframes have shortened considerably.

With that being said, we know there are still some areas for improvement and we will continue to work on those under our control. However, there are some things about submitting POAs and TIAs that are beyond our control, including errors made when a POA or TIA is submitted by a tax professional. For this reason, I wanted to let you know about the most common reasons why a POA or TIA might be rejected.

When considering POA and TIA rejections combined, the most common reason by far is when the taxpayer/client does not respond to our request to verify the relationship with the tax professional. When a POA or TIA relationship requires additional verification, we take steps to notify the representative so they can alert their client that they (the client) will need to respond to FTB.

Another common reason for TIAs being rejected is the taxpayer/client is deceased and the TIA is submitted in the name of the deceased individual. To authorize a representative to receive confidential tax information on behalf of the decedent’s estate or trust, the fiduciary must file the TIA. We recommend that the TIA include either a certificate of trustee, court order, governing instrument, Letter of Administration, or Last Will and Testament.

Rounding out the list of top reasons for POAs and TIAs being rejected are the use of electronic or digital signatures (which are prohibited), declarations being altered or modified, the taxpayer’s information not matching our systems, and finally, illegible documents being submitted. As you can see, all of these reasons for POAs and TIAs being rejected are easily avoidable and as we go forward, we expect our rejection rates to continue to decline.

In closing, I hope that your experience with our POA/TIA process has gone well and that despite some of the early challenges we’ve seen this year, that your tax season is off to a good and productive start.

Susan Maples, CPA
Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate
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