Guest post by Bhupinder Singh, Product Marketing lead at SignEasy.
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April has dawned upon us, and so have the worries of putting our act together as we inch closer to April 18. This part of our calendars is invariably lined up with a flurry of paperwork, items to keep track of and all this while keeping the deadline in mind.
Now, a major part of the stress results from the fact that the amount of paperwork one has to deal with can just turn overwhelming. The rebellion against paperwork has definitely been around in our routine business affairs, with more and more people adopting electronic signatures to cut down paperwork and get things done faster (that makes life simpler, right?). Everyday, we hear from our users on how they are using electronic signatures to say goodbye to the ordeal of printing, scanning, faxing et al.
Did you know electronic signatures can also come in handy during this stretch year of year which happens to be one of the most paperwork-heavy ones. With the recent e-signature guidance by IRS, Forms 8879 and Form 8878 (Electronic Return Originator authorization forms for individual taxpayers) are now under the scope of electronic signatures. Earlier, the taxpayers had to physically sign these authorization forms either in the ERO’s office or sign the physical copy and send it via mail or fax. But with this recent e-signature guidance, you can now authorize your EROs even remotely, a convenience that was previously unavailable.
For the uninitiated, Form 8879 is an IRS e-file signature authorization form, that authorizes an ERO to enter the taxpayers’ PINs on individual income tax returns. And Form 8878 is an IRS e-file authorization form for application of extension of time to file taxes, that authorizes an ERO to enter the taxpayers’ PINs on Forms 4868 and Form 2350.
So, we’ve put together a few pointers on electronic signature methods to ink your tax return documents.
Electronic signature methods to sign tax returns
- Self-select PIN method: Self-select PIN method would require the taxpayer to provide their prior year Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount or prior year PIN for use by the IRS for authentication. This can be done in two ways.
- Do it yourself: In this method, the taxpayer can directly enter their PIN into the electronic return record using key strokes, after reviewing the completed return. In case they don’t have the PIN or the AGI amount, then they can request for an Electronic Filing PIN on IRS.gov and start with e-filing your taxes.
- eSign and authorize your EROs: the taxpayer may also authorize EROs to enter PINs on their behalf, in which case you must review and sign a completed signature authorization form after reviewing the return.
- Practitioner PIN method: Practitioner PIN is the other method and it does not require the taxpayer to provide the previous year AGI amount or previous year’s PIN. Here, the tax preparer would be entering the PIN on the taxpayer behalf upon receiving a signed copy of the IRS Form 8879, which authorizes the tax preparer to enter the taxpayer PIN.
Signing Form 8879 and 8878
When going by the ERO method – either through self-select PIN method or through practitioner PIN method – the taxpayer must always appropriately sign the forms that authorizes your ERO to file taxes on your behalf.
Though they can do this by going the traditional paperwork way, it would require the taxpayer to sign the forms and then send them to the ERO by hand delivery, U.S. mail, private delivery service or fax. Too many hassles, isn’t it?
There is a faster, hassle-free method of doing this. It is by choosing to electronically sign your authorization documents and simply e-mailing them to your tax preparer. (Yes, this method is IRS compliant! More information here.)
For eSigning Form 8879 or Form 8878, you need a legally binding electronic signature solution, like SignEasy. Using SignEasy on your phone, tablet or the web, you can sign the forms and send to your tax preparer within a matter of seconds.
This not only makes your e-filing process hassle-free, it saves a bit of costs too, which you otherwise end up spending in getting your authorization forms mailed to the ERO.
If you’re still making your mind on going the eSign way, here is a little bonus-read on quick tips to help you sail through tax season.
By the way, SignEasy is also offering an exclusive 30% discount if you upgrade to SignEasy Pro. Use the discount code DOCADY while making the purchase and get unlimited documents to sign, cloud integration, advanced security and much more. Please note the discount can be availed only through purchasing via the web.