Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on email

IRS temporarily expands the use of e-signatures

TAX ALERT  | 

On Aug. 28, 2020, the IRS issued a memorandum that it would temporarily allow the use of e-signatures on certain forms due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the spring of 2020, the IRS announced that it would permit the use of electronic signatures for certain documents. However, tax practitioners, including tax professionals from RSM’s Tax Quality and Risk Management team, have continued to request that the IRS expand the use of e-signatures. RSM US LLP professionals were instrumental alerting the IRS to the need for changes to the IRS’s signature requirements to take into account the social distancing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. RSM US LLP was the first organization to contact the IRS and recommend changes to the IRS’s signature requirements. That letter was specifically referenced in a separate letter sent to the IRS by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Additionally, RSM professionals took part in discussions with IRS leaders regarding these changes to the signature requirements.

In response, the IRS issued the above-linked memorandum to permit e-signatures for a number of tax forms. The permitted forms are: 

  • 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. 

The memorandum states that the IRS does not require taxpayers or representatives to use a particular technology or service to create the electronic signature. Presumably, taxpayers and their representatives are able to use any of the technologies previously deemed acceptable. That would include using signatures that are .tiff, .jpg, .jpeg, .pdf files, as well as services like docusign. Indeed, the official memorandum itself appears to have been signed using an adobe certificate based e-signature.  

The memorandum only permits the use of e-signatures for the period of time between Aug. 28, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020. However, the memorandum states that the IRS will review the impact of permitting e-signatures, and will evaluate their future use. Lastly, the memorandum does not permit e-signatures for some of the most commonly filed forms, such as Form 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Form 1120 U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return or Form 1065 U.S. Return of Partnership Income because the IRS was concerned that the acceptance of e-signatures ’presents elements of risk.’ 

Taxpayers with any questions or concerns with using an e-signature to sign their tax filings should contact their tax advisor to determine whether an e-signature is permitted, and to determine whether there are any risks associated with that e-signature. 

Let’s Talk!

Call us at (831) 759-6300 or fill out the form below and we’ll contact you to discuss your specific situation.





  • Should be Empty:
  • Topic Name:

This article was written by Alina Solodchikova, John Deininger and originally appeared on 2020-08-28.
2020 RSM US LLP. All rights reserved.
https://rsmus.com/what-we-do/services/tax/federal-tax/tax-controversy/irs-temporarily-expands-the-use-of-esignatures.html

The information contained herein is general in nature and based on authorities that are subject to change. RSM US LLP guarantees neither the accuracy nor completeness of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for results obtained by others as a result of reliance upon such information. RSM US LLP assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in tax laws or other factors that could affect information contained herein. This publication does not, and is not intended to, provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and readers should consult their tax advisors concerning the application of tax laws to their particular situations. This analysis is not tax advice and is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer.

RSM US Alliance provides its members with access to resources of RSM US LLP. RSM US Alliance member firms are separate and independent businesses and legal entities that are responsible for their own acts and omissions, and each are separate and independent from RSM US LLP. RSM US LLP is the U.S. member firm of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax, and consulting firms. Members of RSM US Alliance have access to RSM International resources through RSM US LLP but are not member firms of RSM International. Visit rsmus.com/aboutus for more information regarding RSM US LLP and RSM International. The RSM(tm) brandmark is used under license by RSM US LLP. RSM US Alliance products and services are proprietary to RSM US LLP.

Hayashi Wayland is a proud member of RSM US Alliance, a premier affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms in the United States. RSM US Alliance provides our firm with access to resources of RSM US LLP, the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market. RSM US LLP is a licensed CPA firm and the U.S. member of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms with more than 43,000 people in over 120 countries.

Our membership in RSM US Alliance has elevated our capabilities in the marketplace, helping to differentiate our firm from the competition while allowing us to maintain our independence and entrepreneurial culture. We have access to a valuable peer network of like-sized firms as well as a broad range of tools, expertise, and technical resources.

For more information on how the Hayashi Wayland can assist you, please call us at contact us.