Currently, it depends on the form. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to alleviate burdens on taxpayers and their representatives, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allowed temporary use of electronic signatures for a limited number of tax forms that the IRS had previously not allowed to be filed electronically.
On April 15, 2021, the IRS issued an updated memorandum extending the temporary use of digital signatures for certain additional IRS forms that usually must be filed with the IRS manually.. For example, the full cumulative list below now includes Form 8832, Entity Classification Election, which allows an eligible entity to elect how it will be classified for US federal income tax purposes.
Noteworthy, the newest IRS release does also include Internal Revenue Code Section 83(b) election statements, which allows a taxpayer that receives property subject to a substantial risk of forfeiture, as compensation for services, to elect to include in gross income the fair market value of property at the time of the transfer over the amount paid for the property. This is a significant change from the December IRS release.
All IRS forms that can now be electronically signed must also be printed and mailed, by the taxpayer after electronically signing, to the relevant IRS service center by or on December 31, 2021.
According to the IRS, electronic and digital signatures may appear in many forms when printed and may be created by many different technologies. Thus, no specific technology is required for electronically signing during the temporary deviation.
The IRS will allow temporary use of electronic signatures for the following forms:
- 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).
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