A taxpayer may designate another person, such as a tax professional, an attorney, a family member, or friend, as the taxpayer's agent through a power of attorney. This authorizes the agent to prepare and file a tax return on the taxpayer’s behalf and represent the taxpayer before the Vermont Department of Taxes.
The power of attorney does not have to be tax-specific. A copy of the power of attorney must be submitted with the tax return.
Documents Authorizing Power Of Attorney
The following methods may be used to authorize power of attorney:
- A written document creating a lawful power of attorney, also referred to as general power of attorney, designating authority to prepare and file a tax return on behalf of the taxpayer
- Form PA-1, Special Power of Attorney for use by Individuals, Businesses, Estates and Trusts, which designates an agent to prepare and file taxes
There is no requirement that a witness or notary sign a valid power of attorney for the purposes of representation before the Department.
Requirement for signatures on Vermont tax returns
Vermont law does not prohibit the taxpayer’s agent, as designated by power of attorney, from signing a tax return on behalf of the taxpayer. If the agent filing the return also has prepared the return, he or she may sign as both the taxpayer and preparer.
A tax return that is prepared by a person other than the taxpayer must include a written declaration that swears confidentiality and that the information on the return is correct. Please see 32 V.S.A. § 5901 for the exact requirements of the declaration.
Additional Vermont statutory references:
Note About Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Rules
The IRS allows an agent to sign a return for a taxpayer in a limited number of circumstances, as follows:
- When a person is unable to file a return because of injury or disease
- Because a person is outside of the country for at least 60 days prior to the due date for the return
- When a person requests special permission
However, IRS regulations do not control the Vermont Department of Tax’s authority to administer Vermont individual tax returns.
Please note: A power of attorney is not an adequate substitute for the licensing and certification required for professional tax preparers. A non-professional should only prepare the taxes of another person using a power of attorney when it is not for payment and the other person is unavailable to prepare his or her own taxes.