Insights and Resources

IRS extends and expands use of digital and electronic signatures

Expanded use of email also extended

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Authored by RSM US LLP


The IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement issued two memoranda dated April 15, 2021, to all IRS employees announcing additional temporary relief regarding handwritten signatures. The memoranda emphasizes that relief is provided to minimize in-person contact in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary relief extended until Dec. 31, 2021, the IRS employees’ ability to accept images of signatures (either scanned or photographed) as well as digital signatures on documents related to the determination or collection of a tax liability. In addition, temporary relief extended the date through which the IRS will accept electronic and digital signatures on certain tax forms that cannot be electronically filed, until Dec. 31, 2021. 

The memorandum concerning documents related to the determination or collection of a tax liability also extends until Dec. 31, 2021, the date when documents can be sent by taxpayers to the IRS via eFax or email and documents can be transmitted to taxpayers by IRS employees using secure messaging systems. Examples of documents included in the scope of the memorandum, for both electronic signatures and the expanded email and secure messaging, include extensions of a 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.

With respect to the use of digital or electronic signatures on forms filed with the IRS, no specific technology is required. The IRS recognizes that electronic and digital signatures may be created by many different technologies and appear in many forms when printed. The IRS had previously announced it was accepting e-signatures on specified forms through June 30, 2021. In the latest announcement, the list of forms on which digital and electronic signatures will be accepted was expanded to include 18 additional forms. The full list of forms that can be digitally signed is provided below:  

  • Form 11-C, Occupational Tax and Registration Return for Wagering;
  • Form 637, Application for Registration (For Certain Excise Tax Activities);
  • Form 706, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
  • Form 706-A, U.S. Additional Estate Tax Return;
  • Form 706-GS(D), Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return for Distributions;
  • Form 706-GS(D-1), Notification of Distribution from a Generation-Skipping Trust;
  • Form 706-GS(T), Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return for Terminations;
  • Form 706-QDT, U.S. Estate Tax Return for Qualified Domestic Trusts;
  • Form 706 Schedule R-1, Generation Skipping Transfer Tax;
  • Form 706-NA, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
  • Form 709, U.S. Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
  • Form 730, Monthly Tax Return for Wagers;
  • Form 1066, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit
  • Form 1120-C, U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations;
  • Form 1120-FSC, U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Sales Corporation;
  • Form 1120-H, U.S. Income Tax Return for Homeowners Associations;
  • Form 1120-IC DISC, Interest Charge Domestic International Sales — Corporation Return;
  • Form 1120-L, U.S. Life Insurance Company Income Tax Return;
  • Form 1120-ND, Return for Nuclear Decommissioning Funds and Certain Related Persons;
  • Form 1120-PC, U.S. Property and Casualty Insurance Company Income Tax Return;
  • Form 1120-REIT, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Investment Trusts;
  • Form 1120-RIC, U.S. Income Tax Return for Regulated Investment Companies;
  • Form 1120-SF, U.S. Income Tax Return for Settlement Funds (Under Section 468B);
  • Form 1127, Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship;
  • Form 1128, Application to Adopt, Change or Retain a Tax Year;
  • Form 2678, Employer/Payer Appointment of Agent;
  • Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method;
  • Form 3520, Annual Return To Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts;
  • Form 3520-A, Annual Information Return of Foreign Trust With a U.S. Owner;
  • Form 4421, Declaration — Executor's Commissions and Attorney's Fees;
  • Form 4768, Application for Extension of Time to File a Return and/or Pay U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Taxes;
  • Form 8038, Information Return for Tax-Exempt Private Activity Bond Issues;
  • Form 8038-G, Information Return for Tax-Exempt Governmental Bonds;
  • Form 8038-GC; Information Return for Small Tax-Exempt Governmental Bond Issues, Leases, and Installment Sales;
  • Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions;
  • Form 8453 series, Form 8878 series and Form 8879 series regarding IRS e-file Signature Authorization Forms;
  • Form 8802, Application for U.S. Residency Certification;
  • Form 8832, Entity Classification Election;
  • Form 8971, Information Regarding Beneficiaries Acquiring Property from a Decedent;
  • Form 8973, Certified Professional Employer Organization/Customer Reporting Agreement; and
  • Elections made pursuant to Internal Revenue Code section 83(b).

If you have any questions concerning the scope of these memoranda, or how to execute or deliver correspondence to the IRS, please contact one of the authors listed above. 

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This article was written by Alina Solodchikova, Evan Stone, Mike Zima, Paul Tew and originally appeared on 2021-04-21.
2020 RSM US LLP. All rights reserved.
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