Last March the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced new guidelines for electronic signatures for e-filing tax return Forms 8878 and 8879. This meant that handwritten signatures or signatures captured on signature pads were no longer the only form accepted. These new rules give taxpayers an attractive new option for tax season, allowing them to receive their tax refunds more quickly (and easily) than ever before.
This is the first tax season where these new guidelines for e-filing are in effect, and we've noticed a surge in interest in e-signatures from tax professionals.
Here at SIGNiX, we were happy to announce that our products meet and exceeded the electronic signature requirements for both forms. If you need to refresh your memory on what those requirements are, check out our previous blog post covering the new guidelines here.
These new guidelines simplify the tax process for taxpayers and preparers by allowing them to e-sign Forms 8878 and 8879 remotely on any computer.
According to the IRS, the electronic authorization forms can be used when taxpayers authorize the electronic return originator (ERO) to produce personal identification numbers (PIN) for their tax returns. Once taxpayers verify their identities with the ERO, they can e-sign and e-file their tax returns online. For more information about the IRS’s guidance updates for Forms 8878 and 8879, you can catch up here.
As tax preparers transition to an increasingly digital process, it's essential to protect clients' personal security. That's why tax professionals must choose a trusted digital signature vendor. Tax preparers should look for a service that provides the evidence that each signature is valid, which means two things:
- Can I prove that my clients willingly and knowingly signed something?
- Can I prove that the signature has not been altered since the signing and that it remains valid over time?
SIGNiX excels in all aspects of legal evidence, and that's what differentiates us in the market. Taxpayers and EROs can legally sign Forms 8878 and 8879 using our digital signature service because we authenticate users' identities online with our multi-factor authentication tool. In addition, each signature on SIGNiX-signed documents is protected with a tamper-evident seal for added security.
It’s exciting to see larger entities like the IRS take value in electronic signatures and offer them as an option for taxpayers, acknowledging that paperwork can be a burden. It’s a reflection of how technology continues to shape, evolve and transform the work we do on a daily basis.