IRS Extends E-Signatures on Many Forms Until Year's End

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Sep 3, 2021
GettyImages-174879501 IRS Internal Revenue Service

The IRS has extended until the end of the year a provision allowing for the use of e-signatures on a wide variety of tax forms that, before the pandemic, needed to be physically signed, Accounting Today reported. According to Accounting Today, because the IRS fact sheet did not provide an end date, some believed that the extension would be permanent. An IRS spokesperson later clarified that the fact sheet would be updated to reflect the fact that the extension of e-signature ability would run only through Dec. 31, 2021.

According to the IRS, acceptable e-signature methods include a typed name typed on a signature block; a scanned or digitized image of a handwritten signature that's attached to an electronic record; a handwritten signature input onto an electronic signature pad; a handwritten signature, mark or command input on a display screen with a stylus device; and a signature created by a third-party software.

The IRS announced that taxpayers and representatives can use e-signatures on the following paper forms, which they cannot file using IRS e-file:

  • Form 11-C, Occupational Tax and Registration Return for Wagering;
  • Form 637, Application for Registration (For Certain Excise Tax Activities);
  • Form 706, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
  • Form 706-A, U.S. Additional Estate Tax Return;
  • Form 706-GS(D), Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return for Distributions;
  • Form 706-GS(D-1), Notification of Distribution from a Generation-Skipping Trust;
  • Form 706-GS(T), Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return for Terminations;
  • Form 706-QDT, U.S. Estate Tax Return for Qualified Domestic Trusts;
  • Form 706 Schedule R-1, Generation Skipping Transfer Tax;
  • Form 706-NA, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
  • Form 709, U.S. Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
  • Form 730, Monthly Tax Return for Wagers;
  • Form 1066, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit;
  • Form 1120-C, U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations;
  • Form 1120-FSC, U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Sales Corporation;
  • Form 1120-H, U.S. Income Tax Return for Homeowners Associations;
  • Form 1120-IC DISC, Interest Charge Domestic International Sales – Corporation Return;
  • Form 1120-L, U.S. Life Insurance Company Income Tax Return;
  • Form 1120-ND, Return for Nuclear Decommissioning Funds and Certain Related Persons;
  • Form 1120-PC, U.S. Property and Casualty Insurance Company Income Tax Return;
  • Form 1120-REIT, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Investment Trusts;
  • Form 1120-RIC, U.S. Income Tax Return for Regulated Investment Companies;
  • Form 1120-SF, U.S. Income Tax Return for Settlement Funds (Under Section 468B);
  • Form 1127, Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship;
  • Form 1128, Application to Adopt, Change or Retain a Tax Year;
  • Form 2678, Employer/Payer Appointment of Agent;
  • Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method;
  • Form 3520, Annual Return To Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts;
  • Form 3520-A, Annual Information Return of Foreign Trust With a U.S. Owner;
  • Form 4421, Declaration – Executor's Commissions and Attorney's Fees;
  • Form 4768, Application for Extension of Time to File a Return and/or Pay U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Taxes;
  • Form 8038, Information Return for Tax-Exempt Private Activity Bond Issues;
  • Form 8038-G, Information Return for Tax-Exempt Governmental Bonds;
  • Form 8038-GC; Information Return for Small Tax-Exempt Governmental Bond Issues, Leases, and Installment Sales;
  • Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions;
  • Form 8453 series, Form 8878 series, and Form 8879 series regarding IRS e-file Signature Authorization Forms;
  • Form 8802, Application for U.S. Residency Certification;
  • Form 8832, Entity Classification Election;
  • Form 8971, Information Regarding Beneficiaries Acquiring Property from a Decedent;
  • Form 8973, Certified Professional Employer Organization/Customer Reporting Agreement; and
  • Elections made per Internal Revenue Code Section 83(b).

In April 2020, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS expanded its acceptance of digital signatures, to the point where even a picture of a hand-written signature would do, on several documents. These included extensions of statutes of limitations on assessment or collection, waivers of statutory notices of deficiency and consents to assessment, agreements to specific tax matters or tax liabilities (closing agreements), along with any other statement or form that needs the signature of a taxpayer or representative and is traditionally collected by IRS personnel outside of standard filing procedures (such as a case-specific power of attorney). The agency also allowed its employees to accept documents through email, or through secure messaging services like SecureZip.

In August 2020
, the IRS further expanded its acceptance of digital signatures to include: 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; and Form 8453 series, Form 8878 series, and Form 8879 series regarding IRS e-file Signature Authorization Forms.

In December 2020, the IRS announced that the temporary acceptance of e-signatures on these forms would be extended into at least June 2021. Now, as of September, their use has been extended until Dec. 31.

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