The Internal Revenue Service is required by federal law to keep confidential the information you supply on your annual tax returns. This means it can't discuss such things as your tax liability or any penalties assessed with anyone other than you. There may come a time, however, when you will need to share this information with others. For example, if you’ve applied for a mortgage, filing Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, enables your lender to access your tax information and visit any IRS office to inspect the tax documents identified on the form.
You Can Limit Information Released by Form 8821
When completing IRS Form 8821, you must provide information about yourself and the person or business that you are authorizing to receive your tax information. This includes names and addresses as well as the specific tax information to which you are granting access. For example, if you're granting access to income tax information from tax year 2010, in Section 3 of Form 8821 entitled "Tax Matters," you list "Income" in column (a) for type of tax, "1040" in column (b) for tax form number and "2010" in column (c) for the calendar year. In column (d), you list the specific information you want the IRS to provide, such as tax liability or balance owed. If you don't want to limit the authorization to specific information, you would write "Not Applicable" in column (d) instead. Once you complete, sign and date Form 8821, you must submit it to the IRS within 120 days of the date you sign it.
- Internal Revenue Service: Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization
- Internal Revenue Service: Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization (PDF)
- National Association for the Self-Employed: Self-Informed, June 2013
- Forbes: Self Employed? 5 Steps to Scoring a Mortgage
- National Conference of State Social Security Administrators: Conference Presentation - Form 8821, How Is It Used and How It Can Help
Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.