IRS E-signature Authorization Forms

By | February 19, 2015

In an effort to make electronic filing easier and recordkeeping less burdensome, the IRS will allow E-signatures on two authorization forms for individual income tax returns. The first one is the Form 8878. That’s the IRS e-file Signature Authorization for Form 4868 or Form 2350. The other form is Form 8879. For those that are interested in the Esignature process, more detailed information can be found in Publication 1345. That’s the Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers of Individual Income Tax Returns.


IRS e-file Signature Authorization for Form 4868 or Form 2350

E-signatures can be completed in many forms by many different technologies as you’re aware. In order to allow for innovation in this new area, no specific technology or process has been mandated by the IRS in order to utilize this. But to provide some context, if you look at Publication 1345, it offers some examples of currently acceptable signature methods, and a couple of those examples are a handwritten signature input onto an electronic signature pad. Another example that’s in there is a digitized image of a handwritten signature that is attached on an electronic record. So take a look at Publication 1345 for other examples of acceptable signature methods.


IRS E-Signature Requirements

One of the requirements for utilizing these signatures is that the process used must be able to generate evidence as to the person the electronic signature belongs to, as well as generate evidence that the identified person is actually associated with the electronic record.



Other IRS E-Signature Requirements

For joint returns or other situations where there’s more than one taxpayer listed for signing that electronic record, the E-signature process must be designed to separately identify and authenticate each taxpayer that’s listed.