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Power of Attorney (POA)

General Information

How a POA Is Used

FTB 3520 and Other Acceptable Forms

Avoiding Common Errors

Revoking or Retaining a POA

Filing a POA

General Information

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that proves one person has permission to represent another. Commonly, a taxpayer signs a POA (FTB 3520) to let us know we can discuss their account or return with their authorized representative, and that their representative may request certain actions on their behalf. We are prohibited from disclosing confidential information to anyone other than the taxpayer or their authorized representative.

In addition to tax matters, POAs are used by individuals for non-tax issues such as Court-Ordered Debt and Vehicle Registration Collections.

How long is a POA valid?

Your POA remains in effect until one of the following happens:

  • We fully resolve all the specified matters listed on the POA.
  • You or your representative revokes the POA.
  • Death of the taxpayer.
  • Your incapacity or incompetency. However, your POA can remain in effect if you authorize it on FTB 3520 or a durable POA.

How to specify what time period and issue is covered by your POA

We can only work with your representative on the tax years or income periods you designate on line 3 of FTB 3520. You must specify the tax year or income period. You cannot designate “all years or all income periods.” However, you can list up to three future years beyond the current year. The three future years are determined starting with December 31 of the year we received your POA.

For non-tax issues such as Court-Ordered Debt, enter the program’s name on this line. You do not need to specify a tax year for non-tax issues.

If line 3, Tax Years or Income Periods is incomplete or completed incorrectly, we cannot process your POA request.

Updating a POA

You must submit any update or modification to your existing POA in writing. Do this by mailing or faxing us an updated FTB 3520. We require your signature or the signature of the individual authorized to sign on your behalf.

Your POA does not need to be notarized

Your POA forms, whether they are state, federal, or handwritten do not need to be notarized.

How a POA is Used

When a POA is required

A POA is required for your representative to:

  • Receive confidential tax information
  • Represent you in FTB matters
  • Request information we receive from IRS
  • Waive the California statute of limitations (SOL)
  • Execute settlement and closing agreements
  • Sign your tax return
  • Receive, but not endorse or cash checks we send to you
  • Delegate authority or substitute another representative
  • Receive information from non-tax programs, such as Vehicle Registration Collections

What a POA authorizes your representative to do on your behalf

Unless you specify otherwise, your representative is authorized as an attorney-in-fact to:

  • Receive and inspect your account information.
  • Represent you in matters before us.
  • Sign waivers that extend the statutory period for assessment or determination of taxes.
  • Execute settlement or closing agreements.

You can increase or decrease your representative’s authority.

On FTB 3520, check box 6 and specify the actions you do or do not authorize your representative to take for you. Here are examples of additional actions you can authorize:

Authority to sign your return

A representative can sign your individual return under any of the following circumstances:

  • Disease or injury
  • Continuous absence from the U.S. (including Puerto Rico) for at least 60 days before the due date

If you are filing a paper return you must attach a copy of FTB 3520 to your return authorizing your representative to sign the return. If you are e-filing you do not need to fill out additional forms FTB 8453, California e-file Return Authorization for Individuals. This form authorizes an Electronic Return Originator (ERO) to file the return on your behalf.

Delegating or substituting representatives

Your representative cannot substitute another representative without your written permission. You can authorize your representative to substitute another representative by checking FTB 3520, box 6.

When your representative substitutes or delegates another representative, the new representative can send a new FTB 3520 and attach a copy of the FTB 3520 you originally signed. You don’t have to sign the new FTB 3520.

After a substitution has been made, only the newly recognized representative will be recognized as your representative.

When a delegation has been made, both the original and the delegated representative will be recognized as the taxpayer’s representative.

When a representative does not need a POA

  • The representative is merely furnishing information at our request.

Example: We are in the process of auditing a corporation and, the auditor requests detailed information about the taxpayer’s manufacturing process. The president of the company feels that it would be better if the auditor could talk to an expert and refers the auditor to Mr. Wrench, who can provide the requested information.

In this example, the auditor does not need a POA to talk to Mr. Wrench. However, Mr. Wrench is limited to providing only the information requested by the auditor.

  • The representative has notices or documents that we sent to the taxpayer. In addition, the representative has the taxpayer’s social security number, address or other information and can answer our security and disclosure questions. This is known as implied authorization.

Example: Mr. Edwards receives a Return Information Notice (RIN) from us regarding his 2009 Form 540. A few days later Mr. Jones calls us about Mr. Edwards’ RIN.

Since Mr. Jones has Mr. Edwards’ notice and is calling us about the RIN, and has answered our security and disclosure questions, it is implied that Mr. Edwards has hired or asked Mr. Jones to handle the matter. This is considered implied authorization and we can work with Mr. Jones regarding Mr. Edwards’ 2009 notice. However, we would need a POA to talk to Mr. Jones about another tax year or problem with Mr. Edwards’ account, or anything else that is not covered by the RIN.

  • You are claiming a deceased taxpayer’s refund check. However, you will need to file federal Form 1310, Statement of Person Claiming a Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer, with us.

FTB 3520 and Other Acceptable Forms

FTB 3520, Power of Attorney

We recommend you use FTB 3520, Power of Attorney, to tell us who your representative is and what things you authorize them to do on your behalf. In addition, we recommend you use the most current version of the form to ensure that you provide us with the information we need to process your POA.

Federal Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative and Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization

When you use either federal form, you need to modify it to state that it applies to FTB matters.

You can grant authorization by writing 540 (100S, 565, etc.) on either IRS form, under Section 3, Tax Matters, in the Tax Form Number box and specify the tax year or income period.

Form 2848, properly modified for state purposes, can provide authorization for the POA to represent the taxpayer in any of the following ways:

  • Represent the taxpayer before FTB.
  • Execute any of the following:
    • Waivers
    • Consents
    • Closing agreements

Form 8821, properly modified for state purposes, is very limited in its scope and only allows the appointed representative to receive confidential information.

BOE 392, Power of Attorney

In addition to the federal forms, we also accept Board of Equalization’s BOE 392, Power of Attorney. BOE 392 is a joint Power of Attorney used by the Board of Equalization, Franchise Tax Board, and the Employment Development Department. When you use BOE 392 the “FTB box” must be checked to allow your representative to work with us. In addition, by checking the appropriate boxes at the bottom of page1, you indicate:

  • Your representative is your attorney in fact for FTB purposes.
  • What you authorize your representative to do.

Handwritten POA

We also accept handwritten POAs. To be valid it must contain the following information:

  • The taxpayer’s or business entity’s name and mailing address
  • Social security number or business entity identification number
  • The name, mailing address, and telephone number of the authorized representative
  • The types of FTB matters involved
  • The specific tax years or income periods involved
  • A clear statement identifying the authority you’re granting to the representative
  • Finally, the handwritten POA must be signed and dated by one of the following:
    • Taxpayer
    • Owner
    • Officer
    • Receiver
    • Administrator
    • Trustee for the taxpayer
  • Married filing jointly POA

When filing a handwritten POA for a joint return, both spouses or registered domestic partners (RDP) must sign and date the POA document.

  • For estate tax matters the POA document must contain:
  • The decedent's name and date of death.
  • The representative's authorization.

General and durable POAs

A general POA is a legal document that, when properly executed, gives one person (the agent) full legal authority to act on behalf of another (the principal).

A durable POA is a legal document that specifies the appointment of a representative (attorney-in-fact) that will not end due to either the passage of time or incompetence of the taxpayer.

For our purposes, general and durable POAs must contain the same information required on FTB 3520 or a handwritten POA.

Helpful Hint: We are unable to process most general and durable POAs because they lack the required information. We recommend that you attach a completed FTB 3520 to your general or durable POAs.

How divorced taxpayers designate a POA

You and your ex-spouse can continue to use the same joint power of attorney for joint return tax matters. If you decide you want to file a separate declaration to name your own representatives, you must submit a new Power of Attorney (FTB 3520) designating your own representatives.

How to designate a POA for a terminated or dissolved registered domestic partnership

You and your ex-partner can continue to use the same joint power of attorney for joint return tax matters. If you decide you want to file a separate declaration to name your own representatives, you must submit a new power of attorney (FTB 3520) designating your own representatives.

How a corporate subsidiary designates a POA

A corporate subsidiary can either:

  • File their own FTB 3520, separate from the parent corporation
  • Be included on the Authorization Schedule for Multiple Corporations on their parent’s FTB 3520 and be represented by their parent’s representative

Who can sign a POA

Individuals

  • In matters involving an individual taxpayer, FTB 3520 must be signed by that individual.

Married/RDP filing jointly

  • Represented by the same individual, both must sign and date FTB 3520
  • Represented by different individuals, each spouse/RDP must complete, sign, and date their own FTB 3520

Corporations or associations

An officer having the authority to bind the taxpayer must sign FTB 3520 as the taxpayer.

Partnerships

The general partner must sign FTB 3520.

Limited liability company(LLC)

An authorized member or manager must sign FTB 3520.

All others

See IRS Reg. 601.503(d). Attach a completed copy of Form 56, Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship to your FTB 3520.

Avoiding common errors

We cannot change or correct information on your POA. If your POA is incorrect or incomplete we cannot process it. You will receive a letter from us explaining the reason we were unable to process your POA. Here is a list of the most common errors and how to avoid them.

The tax years or income periods are not specified.

We can only work with your representative on the tax years or income periods designated on line 3 of the FTB 3520.

You must specify the tax year or income period. You cannot designate “all years or all income periods.” However, you can list up to three years beyond the current year.

For non-tax issues such as Court-Ordered Debt, enter the program’s name on this line. You do not need to specify a tax year for non-tax issues.

The information on FTB 3520, Power of Attorney, does not match the information on our system.

Review your POA before faxing or mailing it to us. Common errors are:

  • Crossed out or white-out Information on FTB 3520 once it has been completed.
  • On a joint POA, one spouse’s or RDP’s name has the other spouse’s or RDP’s social security number listed for it.
  • Too many or too few numbers in the social security or entity identification number.
  • More than one entity listed and we cannot match the entity numbers on our system.
  • The taxpayer’s name does not match the taxpayer’s signature.

You use a non-FTB POA, such as BOE 392 , Power of Attorney or Federal Form 2848 , Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, and do not specify that it applies to FTB.

You must modify non-FTB POA forms to have them apply to FTB matters.

You designated a company or organization as your representative instead of listing an individual.

For example, Jane is completing her FTB 3520 and designates Brown and Associates, LLP as her representative instead of listing Donald Brown.

Revoking or Retaining a POA

Taxpayers

You can revoke previously filed POAs by faxing or sending us a copy of the POA you are revoking. The copy must be signed and dated and the word “Revoke” written across the top of FTB 3520 page 1.

If a copy is not available, you can send us a signed statement that tells us to revoke your POA. The statement must contain:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Your social security or business entity identification number
  • Your representative’s name and address
  • Your signature and date

Representatives

A representative can revoke a prior POA by sending a statement that contains the following information:

  • A statement saying they revoke their POA
  • The taxpayer’s name and address
  • Social security number or business entity identification number
  • The tax years or income periods that they are withdrawing from
  • Signature and date

Retaining a prior year POA

When you file a POA with us, it automatically revokes any prior POAs you filed with us for the same tax years or income periods.

To prevent the automatic revocation, on FTB 3520, mark box 8 on page 2, and attach a copy of the POAs you are retaining.

Filing a POA

How to file a POA

Send FTB 3520 or other POA forms separately from your tax return or other correspondence. Sending the POA with your return or correspondence adds a significant amount of processing time to your POA.

Make sure that you keep a copy of the power of attorney for your records.

Processing timeframes

Method Entered into the data base
Fax 7 working days (approximately)
Mail 15 working days (approximately)

Fax Number or Mailing Address

Fax

916.843.5440

Mail

STATE OF CALIFORNIA
POA UNIT MS F283
FRANCHISE TAX BOARD
PO BOX 2828
RANCHO CORDOVA CA 95741-2828

Audit or collection issues

Send your POA to the address requested by the auditor or collector you are working with on your tax issue.