Internet forms: Password-protecting Form 941

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

Q. I frequently download Form 941, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return, from irs.gov to file quarterly wage and tax reports for my clients, but it no longer allows me to add password protection. When I try to password-protect the form, I get the error message "You cannot change security on the document because it is signed or certified." Is there a workaround or a way to password-protect this document?

A. I, too, was unable to password-protect the Form 941 that I downloaded from irs.gov, but you can work around this problem, as follows.

1. From your web browser, download Form 941 from irs.gov, and then save it to your computer.

2. Open Adobe Acrobat on your computer (hint: not Adobe Acrobat Reader) and open the Form 941 file from your computer.

3. Select File, Save a Copy, and save the file to a new name, as suggested in the screenshot below.

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4. Close your current document by selecting File, Close.

5. Open the copy of the document you saved in step 4.

6. You can now successfully apply security by selecting File, Properties, and then on the Security tab, selecting Password Security from the Security Method drop-down box, as pictured below.

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About the author

J. Carlton Collins (carlton@asaresearch.com) is a technology consultant, a CPE instructor, and a JofA contributing editor.

Note: Instructions for Microsoft Office in “Technology Q&A” refer to the 2007 through 2016 versions, unless otherwise specified.

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