On August 28, the IRS announced that it will temporarily allow the use of digital signatures, or e-signatures, on certain forms that cannot be filed electronically, that must be maintained on paper or that otherwise previously required a handwritten signature. The IRS is making this temporary allowance to help reduce in-person contact and the associated risks to taxpayers and tax professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The change now allows taxpayers to use e-signatures to sign the following forms:

  • Form 3115 (Application for Change in Accounting Method)
  • Form 8832 (Entity Classification Election)
  • Form 8802 (Application for U.S. Residency Certification)
  • Form 1066 (U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit)
  • Form 1120-RIC (U.S. Income Tax Return For Regulated Investment Companies)
  • Form 1120-C (U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations)
  • Form 1120-REIT (U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Investment Trusts)
  • Form 1120-L (U.S. Life Insurance Company Income Tax Return)
  • Form 1120-PC (U.S. Property and Casualty Insurance Company Income Tax Return)
  • Form 8453 series, Form 8878 series, and Form 8879 series (IRS e-file Signature Authorization Forms)

Importantly, the Form 8879 series includes the following e-file authorization forms:

  • Form 8879 (Form 1040)
  • Form 8879-C (Form 1120)
  • Form 8879-EMP (Forms 940, 941, 941-SS, 943, 944, and 945)
  • Form 8879-EO (Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, 1120-POL, and 8868)
  • Form 8879-EX (Forms 720, 2290, and 8849)
  • Form 8879-F (Form 1041)
  • Form 8879-I (Form 1120-F)
  • Form 8879-PE (Form 1065)
  • Form 8879-S (Form 1120-S)

The following forms have been added by the IRS to the list of those being accepted digitally:

  • Form 706 (U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return)
  • Form 706-NA (U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return)
  • Form 709 (U.S. Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return)
  • Form 1120-ND (Return for Nuclear Decommissioning Funds and Certain Related Persons)
  • 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)

As a result, taxpayers can now use an e-signature to sign any Form 8879 and thereby authorize the electronic filing of the related return. Previously, only Form 8879 (Form 1040) could be e-signed.

E-signatures will be accepted on the above-listed forms beginning on August 28, 2020, through December 31, 2020, and any type of e-signature will suffice. The IRS will then evaluate whether or not the continued use of e-signatures on these forms is warranted.

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