Temporary e-signature authorization for IRS forms extended

December 15, 2020

By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D., Journal of Accountancy

In a memorandum dated Dec. 11, 2020, the IRS extended the period during which it will accept a number of forms for which it will temporarily allow required signatures in electronic or digital form. The original authorization was from Aug. 28 through Dec. 31, 2020. Due to the ongoing public health crisis, that period has been extended from Jan. 1 through June 30, 2021.

The IRS made a temporary policy change on March 27, allowing IRS employees to accept digital signatures and images of signatures on certain documents related to determining or collecting a tax liability: extensions of the statute of limitation on assessment or collection; waivers of statutory notices of deficiency and consents to assessment; agreements to specific tax matters or tax liabilities (closing agreements); and other statements or forms outside standard filing procedures. That policy was originally in effect through July 15, 2020, and has now been extended through June 30, 2021.

The forms can be filed only on paper but otherwise require a handwritten signature. Allowing them to be e-signed remotely before being printed and mailed to the Service will help tax professionals and their taxpayer clients by minimizing the need for in-person contact, the IRS said.

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