Tax Court Holds Power of Attorney Form Inadequate to Change a Taxpayer’s Address

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In a precedential opinion in the case of Gregory v. Commissioner, 152 T.C. No. 7 (2019), the Tax Court has held that sending a power of attorney (POA) form to the IRS with a new address for the taxpayer does not put the IRS on notice with respect to the change of address such that it must use that address in corresponding with the taxpayer in a notice required to be sent to the taxpayer’s last known address. Bryan Camp has a nice write up of the case on the Tax Prof blog if you want an expanded take on the case and you have an interest in knowing how Bryan met his wife.

Before going into an explanation of the basis for the Court’s opinion and why it issued a precedential opinion on this issue, I found it worth noting what was not discussed in this case. Since it was not discussed, I do not know why and would welcome comments from any reader who might know. Because the issue in the case is whether the POA form can change a taxpayer’s address, I would guess that a valid POA existed at the time the notice of deficiency at issue in this case was mailed. If a valid POA existed at the time of the issuance of the notice, why didn’t the POA receive the notice in time to file the Tax Court petition?

The IRS position is that its failure to send a copy of the notice of deficiency to the POA does not invalidate the notice and does not save the taxpayer who files late. See IRM (providing that notice may be invalid if not mailed to last known address of taxpayer or if not mailed by certified or registered mail) and IRM (providing that copies of the notice are sent to the POA via regular mail). Here, it is not clear if there was a valid POA at the time of the notice, if the POA was timely notified or if the IRS failed to send a copy to the POA. If a POA existed and the IRS timely sent a copy to the POA, maybe this was really a case seeking to protect the POA from exposure. If a POA existed and the IRS did not send a timely notice to the POA, I am surprised that the taxpayer did not at least make an argument regarding that failure. If the notice were a notice of determination in a CDP case, IRC 6304 might come into play if the IRS failed to timely notice the POA. See IRC 6304(a)(2); but cf. Bletsas v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2018-128 (2018) (rejecting taxpayer’s argument that IRC 6304 required the IRS to mail a notice of lien to her POA).


The Gregorys filed their return for 2014 after they moved from Jersey City, New Jersey to Rutherford, New Jersey in 2015; however, on the 2014 return they put their Jersey City address. The opinion did not provide an explanation for why they did this but right off the bat they have created a problem for themselves. During the course of the examination, the Gregorys submitted two POAs to the IRS and each POA listed their new address in Rutherford. During the examination, they also filed a request for extension of time to file their 2015 return and that request also listed their Rutherford address. When the IRS issued the notice of deficiency on October 13, 2016, it had not yet received their 2015 return and it had not received a formal change of address notification from the Gregorys.

The IRS sent the SNOD to Jersey City. The Gregorys did not receive it until after 90 days had run. They filed their Tax Court petition immediately upon receipt of the SNOD. The IRS moved to dismiss the petition as untimely. Both parties agreed it was untimely and that the Tax Court case became one that would decide whether the notice was sent to their last known address and not one which would determine the merits.

The Court here relies on the statute, the regulations under the statute and the Rev. Proc. promulgated in furtherance of the regulations. Bryan Camp’s post does an excellent job walking through those provisions and I will not duplicate it here. The result of the application of the statute, the reg and the Rev. Proc., as well as the language on the POA form and the application for extension form, is that these forms are not returns. Putting a new address on these forms does not provide the type of notice requiring the IRS to adjust its records. Because the POA form and the application for extension form do not require the IRS to adjust its record of a taxpayer’s address, the sending of the SNOD to the Jersey City address met the statutory requirement of sending the notice to the taxpayer’s last known address. Since it met that requirement, the SNOD provided a valid basis for the IRS to assess the liability shown thereon. The taxpayers can still litigate about the underlying liability. They must fully pay first and file a refund claim in order to litigate the issue through the refund process. Alternatively, since they did not receive the SNOD, they can litigate the merits in a Collection Due Process case once the IRS sends notice of intent to levy or files a notice of federal tax lien. Depending on whether a copy of the SNOD was timely sent to a representative, they may find their representative anxious to assist them in obtaining an opportunity to litigate the merits.

The decision here suggests to practitioners that they should take the opportunity of sending in a POA to review the client’s last known address and the practitioner should consider including with the POA a formal notice of the change of address where appropriate.

The case does not address the situation of conversations with the IRS. When I speak with someone at the IRS and I am confirming my ability to represent the taxpayer, I frequently get quizzed about the POA. One part of the quiz is the taxpayer information. If the POA does not contain the taxpayer’s phone number, I get quizzed about their phone number and sometimes about their address. If a representative talks to a human at the IRS about the taxpayer’s address on a POA, I wonder if that might change the outcome here. The issue of last known address has many permutations. In the book Effectively Representing Your Client before the IRS an entire chapter is devoted to this topic. No one wants to be relying on a last known address argument but this issue comes up with frequency.



  1. Kenneth H. Ryesky says

    I am now based overseas. My tax filing obligations are my personal 1040, and the 1041 for my a trust of which I am Trustee. [For a while, I also was Executor of my late sister’s (insolvent) Estate, and had to file the personal 1040’s which she neglected to do during her lifetime.].

    And in working out a deal with the IRS to have them accept the balance of the Estate bank account so that they could remove the lien so that my late sister’s condo could be sold (so that the IRS could snatch up the proceeds of the sale), I had to deal with IRS offices in Philadelphia and in Florida.

    Based upon my experiences as an IRS attorney, I am a firm believer in using the Postal Service to keep the IRS honest (not that the USPS or my current country of residence’s postal bureaucracies operate 100% smoothly; for a while I had to use FedEx on account of postal glitches here). And Certified or Registered Mail is the only truly effective way of achieving that objective.

    The Trust 1041’s go to Ogden, but my personal 1040 tax return goes to Austin (as did my late sister’s). Complicating matters is the fact that our Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavits go to Fresno, but those of my wife and myself can and do go in the same mailpiece.

    When we relocated overseas, business prudence dictated that I apprise the IRS of our new whereabouts.

    Things would have been far easier if there had been one single postal address for corresponding with the IRS, at least for each taxable entity.

    • Norman Diamond says

      Since Form 8822 change of address notice is not a return, does that explain why the IRS ignores Form 8822? The IRS also ignored several letters which gave our address and mentioned the Form 8822. In a telephone call, after some argument, an IRS employee recorded part of the necessary changes (she didn’t say that she omitted the state of residence, and did not say why).


      “Based upon my experiences as an IRS attorney, I am a firm believer in using the Postal Service to keep the IRS honest”

      Your impending experience as a non-resident taxpayer will surely cure you of that belief. Please read some TIGTA reports.

      “And Certified or Registered Mail is the only truly effective way of achieving that objective.”

      Certified doesn’t work for international mail. For Registered mail, usually you get to look on to see where your letter disappeared inside USPS, and then you get to submit to your post office a request for investigation of registered mail. In my experience USPS is more honest than some other countries’ post offices, and will answer that they lost trace of the letter without delivery and without return to sender.

      Now, do you know any way to make a court honest? A US resident citizen, not a party to a case, sent Certified mail to US District Court for the Central District of California and received a return receipt signed by a court employee. The court subsequently ruled that the court had not received the mailing.

      I did not know when USPS started putting a time limit on searches, but be warned that they have. Within two years of mailing, you should print out the result of your search on

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