On Marh 11, the IRS updated Publication 1345, Handbook for Authorized IRS e-File Providers of Individual Income Tax Returns. Prior to this update, the IRS required a ‘pen and ink on paper’ signature to be considered valid, though it allowed the form to be return to the tax preparer via scan or fax. Now acceptable methods fall into the following categories:
- A handwritten signature input on an electronic signature pad
- A handwritten signature, mark or command input on a display screen by means of a stylus device
- a digitized image of a handwritten signature that is attached to an electronic record
- A typed name (e.g. typed at the end of an electronic record or typed into a signature block on a website form by a signer)
- A shared secret (e.g. a secret code, password or pin) a person used to sign the elctronic record
- A digital signature; or
- a mark captured as a scalable graphic
Practitioners using these alternate methods must take additional care in verifying the taxpayer’s identity on an annual basis.
Aaron’s Take: This opens up many more methods for communication between our firm and our clients. Digital signatures obtained through the widely distributed Adobe Acrobat program which are text-based are now legal signatures per the IRS.
No more faxing or scanning is necessary! You will be able to open the PDF file, use the embedded digital signature technology, save & send back to us without killing a single tree!