If you are a U.S. citizen, tax season has in all probability got you under the weather. And in these taxing times, if there is one thing that can take the heat off your e-filing process, it is electronic signatures.
As with an income tax return submitted to the IRS on paper, the taxpayer and paid preparer (if applicable) must sign an electronic income tax return. With the recent electronic signature guidance by IRS, e-filing has become completely electronic in the truest sense. Under this new guidance, IRS has expanded the use of electronic signatures on two authorization forms for individual income tax returns.
If you are a taxpayer planning to file taxes by yourself or are planning to go the Electronic Returns Originator (ERO) route, you would need to know the e-signature norms as put out by IRS. In the following paragraphs, we have tried to simplify the various electronic signature methods available for signing your tax return. Hope it helps you get through this tax season faster than ever 🙂
Electronic signature methods to sign tax returns
1. Self-select PIN method: Self-Select PIN method requires taxpayers to provide their prior year Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount or prior year PIN for use by the IRS for authentication.
2. Practitioner PIN method: Practitioner PIN is the other method and it does not require the taxpayer to provide their prior year AGI amount or prior year PIN. When using this method, taxpayers must always appropriately sign a completed signature authorization form. Taxpayers, who use the Practitioner PIN method and enter their own PINs in the electronic return record using key-strokes after reviewing the completed return, must still appropriately sign the signature authorization form.
Signing form 8879 and 8878 for authorizing your ERO
The recent electronic signature guidance has brought under its scope, the use of electronic signatures on two authorization forms – Form 8878 and 8879 – for individual income tax returns. The new guidance reduces burden on taxpayers who had to physically sign the authorization form either in their ERO’s office or mail it.
Details on the authorization forms:
Note: Form 8878 is only required for Forms 4868 when taxpayers are authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal and want an ERO to enter their PINs.
You must sign and date the Form 8878 or Form 8879 after reviewing the return and ensuring that the tax return information on the form matches the information on the return. The taxpayer may return the completed Form 8878 or Form 8879 to the ERO by hand delivery, U.S. mail, private delivery service, fax, email or an Internet website.
Electronic signature types that can be used for Forms 8878 and 8879
According to IRS, electronic signature is a method of signing an electronic message that identifies and authenticates a particular person as the source of the electronic message and indicates such person’s approval of the information contained in the electronic message. Electronic signatures appear in many forms, and may be created by many different technologies.
List of currently acceptable electronic signature methods as per IRS:
Before you choose an electronic signature provider for signing tax returns
Did you know that software used for e-signature must capture certain specific data, as per IRS? Here is the list:
SignEasy is IRS compliant!
Sign your documents this tax season, using SignEasy here
If you are a taxpayer: For e-signing Form 8879 or 8878 you need a legally binding electronic signature solution, like SignEasy. Using the SignEasy app on Android, iOS or from the Web, you can get the forms signed and sent to your ERO within a matter of seconds.
If you are an ERO: When your clients need to send you Form 8879 or 8878, redeem them from the hassle of pen and paper signature and couriering it to your postal address. Make the process of authorization, simple and fast by asking them to sign and e-mail it to you. All they need is the required form and SignEasy app.
So don’t look further. April 18th is just around the corner. Complete e-filing of your taxes today, with SignEasy!
Disclaimer: Information provided on this page is for educational purpose and has been compiled from the IRS website.