Tax Season Resources
Electronic signatures can be used for engagement letters and for electronic filing forms allowing us to send returns to the federal and state governments. An electronic signature qualifies as a valid signature for tax compliance purposes.
For joint tax returns, we must have separate email addresses for the taxpayer and spouse to use the electronic signature option. This is because the system has to know who is signing the document to ensure proper authorization.
If you have questions, please contact us!
To start the electronic signature process, clients will receive an email alerting them that we need their signature. We advise to carefully read the email and contact us if unsure whether the email is valid. Declining the signature may not only delay the tax return preparation, but we will need to regenerate and send the request or obtain a paper signature which can take a day or more.
Clicking on the email link goes to a third party website which will verify each client's identity through a few steps and provide the ability to read and sign the document before sending it back to us.
The first step lets clients know that we sent the request to sign a document and also lists the document we need signed. Clients will have an opportunity to review the document prior to signing it.
Next, sign an electronic record & signature consent disclosure that informs our clients, among other things, that signing the document electronically provides the same legal signature as signing with a pen and providing us the paper copy.
Then, to keep information secure, only input the last 4 digits of the social security number. This information is not transmitted or verified by us. Our third party uses a system, such as Verisign, to determine identity based on SSN and then confirms the authorization to sign the document. This is also why we need separate email addresses for both the taxpayer and spouse (if applicable).
Clients may be asked some questions based on personal information, which are all created by the third party system, such as Verisign. We do not have access to this information or the responses. When completed, a note indicates the identity was verified.
Clients will then be able to review the document we requested for signature. It will be listed as either an Engagement Letter or a Form 8879. Clickeing on the 'Review Documen' link enables reading the document. Afterwards, check the box indicating the document was reviewed. Then click the 'Next' button.
Clients may sign each document by either typing their name and choosing a script font, or by drawing their name on the screen with a mouse, tablet pen or finger. All work and count as a valid signature of the document. When done, press the 'Next' button. Only one more step!
This is the final step! Clients have another opportunity to review the document, with their signature visible on the document. After reviewing, click on the checkbox indicating the document was reviewed and satisfaction with the signed copy. Press the 'Submit' button and the document will be transmitting securely for us receive!