Electronic Signature for Tax Forms
Can I electronically sign my tax forms?
It depends. Form 1040, the U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, uses an electronic signature when it is filed electronically, whether the form is self-prepared by a taxpayer or prepared by a tax professional. According to the IRS, more than 90% of Form 1040s are filed and signed electronically.
However, Form 1040 is just one of a long list of possible forms filed with the IRS and some of these forms typically require an ink signature. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to alleviate concerns from taxpayers and representatives around securing handwritten signatures in-person, the United States Internal Revenue Service is now temporarily allowing the use of electronic signatures for a limited list of additional tax forms that the IRS previously had not allowed to be filed electronically.
The following forms can be submitted with electronic signatures if mailed by or on Dec. 31, 2020:
- Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method
- Form 8832, Entity Classification Election
- Form 8802, Application for U.S. Residency Certification
- Form 1066, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit
- Form 1120-RIC, U.S. Income Tax Return for Regulated Investment Companies
- Form 1120-C, U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations
- Form 1120-REIT, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Investment Trusts
- Form 1120-L, U.S. Life Insurance Company Income Tax Return
- Form 1120-PC, U.S. Property and Casualty Insurance Company Income Tax Return
- Form 8453 series, Form 8878 series, and Form 8879 series regarding IRS e-file Signature Authorization Forms
The IRS will closely monitor this temporary option for e-signatures and determine if additional steps are needed.
Digital, self-service tools from government coming soon
In late 2018, the United States Congress passed the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA), an act that transformed how the federal government interacts with the public. Its most impactful requirements include the modernization of websites, the use of electronic signatures, and the digitization of all forms. When fully implemented across every government agency, these measures are expected to save significant taxpayer dollars and dramatically improve the citizen experience with the availability of these digital, self-service tools. This mandate reaffirms the current national digital transformation trend which was further accelerated by legislation recently signed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, which allowed tax preparers in New York State to file their clients’ state tax returns with an electronic signature.
For tax preparers authorized to file taxes on their clients’ behalf, DocuSign eSignature conforms with IRS requirements for eSigning Forms 8878 and 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization forms. Electronic return originators (EROs) can start using DocuSign eSignature immediately to deliver better customer service, minimize the possibility of errors on their clients’ returns, and create a speedier workflow.
In addition to helping get tax forms signed and filed in an efficient, timely and safe manner, the DocuSign Agreement Cloud for Financial Services helps create fast, efficient agreement processes for account opening, securing loans, transferring wealth, and more.