AICPA Confirms Digital Signatures Allowed for IRS Form 8879

March 31, 2014

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced new electronic signature guidance for Forms 8878 and 8879 on March 12 in a QuickAlert

The announcement said that Publication 1345 “Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers of Individual Income Tax Returns” (available only online) had been revised regarding electronic signatures for Forms 8878 and 8879.  However, in reviewing the changes, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) discovered that a key reference to the permissions for digital signature only referenced Form 8878, raising a question about whether digital signatures were also permitted on Form 8879. 

The AICPA worked with the IRS to clarify the changes and suggested where an additional clarification would be helpful.  As a result of the discussions, IRS updated the page Signing an Electronic Tax Return with two critical changes:

• The words “and 8879” were added to the following statement: “EROs may use an electronic signature pad to have taxpayers sign Forms 8878 and 8879.”

• The words “or electronic signature” were added to the following sentence:  “This does not alter the requirement that taxpayers must sign Form 8878 and Form 8879 by a handwritten or electronic signature.”

As a result, digital signatures for Form 8879 are now specifically and explicitly authorized under the revised guidance.