Power of Attorney Confusion at AZDOR

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Arizona Form 285, known as a Power of Attorney, is commonly filed in order to grant a taxpayer’s designated representative the authority to communicate with the Arizona Department of Revenue regarding the taxpayer’s account, filings and records. The form requires information identifying the taxpayer and authorized representative, and must be signed by both parties.

CPAs often file this form when a client receives a tax notice from the state, so that the CPA may contact the AZDOR, investigate the issue and often reach a quick resolution over the phone. Until recently it was common practice to fax the signed Form 285 to the AZDOR for quick processing, often while already on the phone with an AZDOR representative.

Lately however, many representatives at the AZDOR offices have refused to accept the form via fax, and instead insist that it must be mailed via postal service due to new AZDOR policy. Meanwhile, other representatives continue to accept faxes and are unaware of any new policy. Somewhat comically, the reasoning for the supposed new policy is that the AZDOR department that handles Powers of Attorney owns only one fax machine, which is constantly bogged down with incoming Forms 285, and the department cannot purchase another fax machine due to a budget freeze. Thus, in order to free up the lone fax machine for other uses, Forms 285 must be sent via mail.

Until this issue is resolved, taxpayers can expect to be waiting quite a bit longer than usual to resolve their Arizona tax issues. Not only must the Power of Attorney be mailed, but once received takes six to eight weeks of processing in order to be in effect. I can’t speak for other CPAs in the Valley, but personally I’d be willing to chip in a few bucks to buy the AZDOR an early Christmas gift in the form of a second fax machine.

By Austin Bradley, CPA