IRS Expands Scope of Forms Temporarily Accepted Using E-Signatures
On Aug. 28, the IRS announced it would temporarily allow the use of digital signatures on certain forms that cannot be filed electronically to help reduce in-person contact during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the agency has recently updated the list of forms accepted digitally.
The following forms were added to the list on Sept. 10:
- Form 706, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
- Form 706-NA, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
- Form 709, U.S. Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
- Form 1120-ND, Return for Nuclear Decommissioning Funds and Certain Related Persons;
- Form 3520, Annual Return To Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts; and
- Form 3520-A, Annual Information Return of Foreign Trust With a U.S. Owner.
The following forms were announced on Aug. 28, and they can be submitted with digital signatures if mailed by or on Dec. 31, 2020:
- 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 March, the IRS began temporarily accepting scanned or photographed images of signatures and digital signatures on documents related to the determination or collection of tax liability. It also began allowing employees to accept documents via email and to transmit documents to taxpayers using SecureZip or other established secured messaging systems.
Extensions of statute 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), and any other statement or form needing the signature of a taxpayer or representative traditionally collected by IRS personnel outside of standard filing procedures (for example, a case-specific Power of Attorney) are the categories of documents included in the scope of the effort begun in March.
The taxpayer or representative must include a statement, either in the form of an attached cover letter or within the body of the email, stating to the effect: “The attached [name of document] includes [name of taxpayer]’s valid signature and the taxpayer intends to transmit the attached document to the IRS.” The IRS notes that the choice to transmit documents electronically is solely that of the taxpayer.