To help reduce the burden to taxpayers brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the use of electronic or digital signatures on certain paper forms they normally cannot file electronically have been extended through December 31, 2021. Let’s take a look at what this means for taxpayers:

Types of acceptable electronic signatures

An electronic signature is a way to get approval on electronic documents. There are a number of ways to do this. Acceptable electronic signature methods include:

  1. A typed name typed on a signature block
  2. A scanned or digitized image of a handwritten signature that's attached to an electronic record
  3. A handwritten signature input onto an electronic signature pad
  4. A handwritten signature, mark or command input on a display screen with a stylus device
  5. A signature created by a third-party software

The type of technology a taxpayer must use to capture an electronic signature is not specified; the IRS will accept images of signatures (scanned or photographed) including common file types supported by Microsoft 365 such as tiff, jpg, jpeg, pdf, Microsoft Office suite or Zip.

E-signatures on certain paper-filed forms

Electronic or digital signatures are typically allowed on paper forms that cannot be filed using IRS e-file. Some of these forms are listed below. For a complete list, please call the office.

  • Form 706, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
  • Form 709, U.S. Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
  • Form 1120-C, U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations;
  • Form 1120-H, U.S. Income Tax Return for Homeowners Associations;
  • 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 1120-REIT, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Investment Trusts;
  • 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 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-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 8802, Application for U.S. Residency Certification;
  • Form 8832, Entity Classification Election;
  • Form 8971, Information Regarding Beneficiaries Acquiring Property from a Decedent.