Q. What is the difference between a Power-of-Attorney and the Third Party Designee indicated on page 2 of Form 1040 ? They sound like the same thing to me. JT, Alabama
A. The Third Party Designee is very limited in scope. It allows the taxpayer to indicate one person who can exchange information about the return to the IRS, question the status or a refund or payment, request written tax information relating to the tax return, and respond to certain IRS notices. It is good only until April 15th of the following year. I've called the IRS twice regarding a return where I was appointed the Third Party Designee and found the IRS reluctant to give me almost any information without a Power-of-Attorney.