IRS to Temporarily Accept Digital Signatures, Some File Transmissions

March 31, 2020

The IRS recently announced several measures it is implementing to lessen the burden on taxpayers and professionals during the COVID-19 period.

The IRS will begin temporarily accepting scanned or photographed images of signatures and digital signatures on documents related to the determination or collection of tax liability.

In addition, the IRS is allowing its employees to accept documents via email and to transmit documents to taxpayers using SecureZip or other established secured messaging systems.

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.

The limited categories of documents included in the scope of this effort include:

  • 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)
  • 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)

The IRS is continuing to review standards for e-signing other documents and invites suggestions and comments as it pursues additional efforts designed to lessen the burden on taxpayers and professionals during this period.