From the IRS:
The Internal Revenue Service today outlined common errors that may delay processing of Centralized Authorization File (CAF) numbers. Reducing errors in CAF applications is one way to speed the approval process for tax professionals.
The IRS also reminded tax practitioners that CAF numbers are valuable cybercriminal targets and outlined steps tax professionals should take annually to help protect their CAF number from misuse.
The IRS annually processes 3.5 million paper Forms 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, and Forms 8821, Tax Information Authorization. The Form 2848 grants eligible practitioners the authorization to represent a client before the IRS. The Form 8821 grants individuals or organizations the authorization to inspect a client’s tax records.
When practitioners submit Forms 2848 or 8821 for the first time, they are issued a nine-digit CAF number that they use as an identifier on all their future third-party authorization requests. During fiscal year 2018, the IRS rejected 384,081 authorization requests.
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