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Issue 40613

IRS Forms 2848 and 8821

Project Statement: Taxpayer Communications Committee (TCC) has been tasked with assessing public understanding of the use of third-party authorization Forms 2848 (Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative) and 8821 (Tax Information Authorization) for tax professional representation before the IRS and for third-parties receipt of tax information.

Goal Statement: Educate taxpayers on appropriate use of and differences between Forms 2848 and 8821.

TAP RECOMMENDATION

ID 1756

It is proposed that a “process tree” or “workflow” of sorts be utilized online enabling the taxpayer to be routed to the correct form needed when requesting third party authorization.
Recommendations include:

1. Implementation of key words in online searches on irs.gov to direct taxpayer to correct information: i.e., authorization, assist, power of attorney, help with filing, etc.
2. Utilize process forks as answers to the following questions that will direct the taxpayer to the correct form, online and in phone conversations on help lines:
o Do you need someone to fill out forms on your behalf? (Form 2848, Power of Attorney)
o Do you need someone to view your tax information? (Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization)

IRS Action:Adopted

ID 1756
OLS agrees with the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel’s (TAP’s) finding that when the search terms “assist” and “help with” are used on IRS.gov, search results don’t help taxpayers understand the differences between Forms 2848 and 8821.

OLS analyzed search terms and found that these terms are both broad context and not frequently used. Associating “help with” and “assist” with definitive topics such as power of attorney and information authorization will not benefit most taxpayers.
To help meet the objective of ensuring that taxpayers are using the correct third-party form, and not providing the third-party undue or unwanted access to taxpayer information/data, OLS used search optimization techniques to promote the Third Party Authorization Purpose page on IRS.gov. This page provides detailed explanation of the two forms. OLS increased findability for both Forms 2848 and 8821 by creating Top Recommendation entries to the complimentary “About” pages for these forms on January 8, 2020.

By March 1, OLS plans to include the Third-Party Authorization Purpose page as a complementary result in the recommendation call-out to promote discovery and help taxpayers determine which third party form meets their needs.

OLS will conduct additional keyword research to identify additional related keywords, and further adjust Top Recommendations as needed, and will discuss website content related to Third Party Authorizations with content owners to determine if changes or enhancements are appropriate. These activities are ongoing.

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2019 TAP Annual Report

The 2019 TAP Annual Report highlights our key recommendations to improve IRS customer service and summarizes our key accomplishments and activities, including the 224 recommendations submitted to the IRS in 2019.

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