Understanding the CAF Number: A Tax Pro’s Guide

Understanding the CAF Number: A Tax Pro’s Guide

The Centralized Authorization File (CAF) is a database that the Internal Revenue Service uses to manage information regarding professionals appointed to act on behalf of others. The CAF number is not an authorization in and of itself. Rather, it identifies the file containing any legal authorizations that have been filed by a tax resolution professional. With it, IRS personnel can look up whether the tax professional has the authority to access the taxpayer’s data, rather than having to ask them to fax the signed authorization each time. Anyone working with tax resolution clients will want to get a CAF number to save time when communicating with the IRS.


Whether calling to request information or downloading IRS transcripts through e-Services, it will save a ton of time. Your CAF number is nine digits long and is unique to you. It is different from your TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number), EIN (Employer Identification Number), or PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number). As a professional specializing in tax resolution, you may need all of them.

How Do I Get a CAF Number?

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