IRS clarifies: Electronic signatures permitted for Form 8879

BY ALISTAIR M. NEVIUS, J.D.
March 21, 2014

Correcting an oversight, the IRS on Thursday updated the online version of Publication 1345, Handbook for Authorized IRS e-File Providers of Individual Income Tax Returns (rev. 3/20/14), to clarify that electronic signatures are permitted for Form 8879, IRS e-File Signature Authorization, as well as Form 8878, IRS e-file Signature Authorization for Form 4868 or Form 2350.

On March 11, the IRS updated the publication to provide that a taxpayer can sign Form 8878 by electronic signature pad in an electronic return originator’s office. Form 8879 was not mentioned in the March 11 update, although it was included in the title of another portion of the publication, “Electronic Signature Guidance for Forms 8878 and 8879,” dealing with electronic signature requirements in general.
 
The IRS was made aware of its failure to include Form 8879 by the AICPA, and the AICPA suggested clarifications to the publication. As a result of those discussions, the IRS has updated the portion of Publication 1345 called “Signing an Electronic Tax Return” to add a reference to Form 8879 in the sentence, “EROs may use an electronic signature pad to have taxpayers sign Forms 8878 and 8879.” In that same section of the publication, the IRS has added “or electronic signature” to the sentence, “This does not alter the requirement that taxpayers must sign Form 8878 and Form 8879 by a handwritten or electronic signature.”

Alistair M. Nevius ( anevius@aicpa.org ) is the JofA’s editor-in-chief, tax.

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