Companies are trying to meet the growing demand for paperless offices these days, and many tax firms are trying to finalize their digital processes before tax season is in full swing. The good news is that it doesn’t take a national firm, myriad platforms or a big capital expense to go digital. It could be as simple as incorporating the right e-signature solution into your existing tax software—which puts individual tax preparers and small firms on the same playing field as large national firms.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognized the need to offer electronic tax filing capabilities and began permitting the use of e-signatures for executing tax documents in 2014. Here are just a few of the benefits for both taxpayers and tax preparers:
- Decreased paper usage — Documents are created, completed and signed electronically, so the need for paper is dramatically reduced. And because records can be saved digitally, paper storage is no longer necessary.
- Faster refunds — If your client files a paper tax, they have to wait weeks before receiving the refund by mail. If your client files their taxes electronically using e-signatures, however, they have the option to sign up for a direct deposit refund from the IRS—allowing them to receive their refunds in a matter of days, not weeks.
- Improved accuracy — E-signatures ensure that forms are not left blank or incomplete before being submitted. As a result, you’ll spend less time checking for a document’s completion, and you won’t ever have to resend a form to be completed again.
- Reduced transaction time — Instead of faxing or mailing tax documents to a client and waiting for them to be returned, your client can securely download documents and submit their approval remotely with an e-signature, saving you time and your client inconvenience.
It’s clear that there are certain advantages to using e-signatures in the tax filing process, but how can you know which e-signature platform is right for your clients? With sensitive information on the line, protecting your clients’ data must be the first priority.
In an effort to maintain the security of taxpayers’ information, the IRS requires that e-signature software used to file taxes records the following data:
- Digital image of the signed form
- Date & time of the signature
- Taxpayer’s computer IP address
- Taxpayer’s login identification
- Proof of knowledge-based identity authentication
- Method used to sign the record
- Tamper-evident seal
Many tax programs have already incorporated SIGNiX’s Independent E-Signatures™ into their platforms—making the filing process more convenient for taxpayers and preparers alike.
“We chose to partner with SIGNiX because we could trust the level of security that supports each signature,” Shannon Bond, VP of Commercial Services of Wolters Kluwer, said. “By meeting the IRS’s security requirements and ensuring the safety of taxpayers’ information, we feel comfortable offering this free tool through our tax preparation software.”
Instead of sifting through piles of paperwork, make this tax season more efficient for both you and your clients with e-signatures.
If you’d like to learn more about e-signatures for taxes, download this free fact sheet.