error-63628_1280Earlier this month, the following e-mail arrived in my inbox (and in many other tax preparers’ inboxes):

Congratulations!  Your e-filing firm is eligible to use the e-Services incentive products.  The following incentive products are now available:

Disclosure Authorization allows you to submit Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, and Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization electronically.

Electronic Account Resolution enables you to expedite closure on clients’ account problems by electronically sending/receiving account related inquiries. You may inquire about individual or business account problems, refunds, installment agreements, payments or notices.

Transcript Delivery System provides online tax return transcripts, account transcripts and a record of account for both individual and business taxpayers.

Remember that you must have a power of attorney on file before accessing client’s records using Electronic Account Resolution or Transcript Delivery System.

Principals or Responsible Officials can grant their employees access to these e-services through the on-line e-file application.  First, add individual employees to the e-file application using the Delegate User function.  Next, activate the individual e-services for an employee using the Delegate Authorities link.

I was excited to receive this because it seemed to indicate that the IRS was bringing back the ability to elecronically file power of attorney forms.

I wanted to jump on this right away, but caution told me to sit on it for awhile so I flagged the e-mail for follow-up later this week.

My caution proved to be justified when I received the weekly “E@lert” published by the National Association of Enrolled Agents. Other EAs had received the same e-mail and asked NAEA about it. NAEA asked the IRS for more information and here’s what happened:

The response (to us as well as to the members who received the initial message — some as many as nine times): a follow-up “oopsie” e-mail. Subject line: Disregard email about e-services products. The full text follows:

“If you received an Oct. 23 email notifying you that you are eligible for e-services Incentive Products (TDS, DA, EAR), please disregard as this email was inadvertently sent. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

That’s quite a mistake to “inadvertently” send an e-mail to practitioners, implying that online services were available again when they really aren’t. Especially since the IRS doesn’t intend to send a follow-up retraction to all of us who got the original e-mail.

Thank goodness NAEA published the IRS retraction, because otherwise I would have tried using the system again to submit power of attorney forms and I would have been confused as to why it wasn’t working.

Of course, I have long been confused as to why the IRS did away with the ability to submit power of attorney forms online, as I blogged about in the past.

Image courtesy of user Geralt on Pixabay.com

“This blog post, along with comments that may follow, should not be considered tax advice. Before you make final tax or financial decisions, please secure a professional tax advisor to give you advice about your unique situation. To secure Jason as your accountant, please click on the ‘Services’ link at the top of the page.”