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IRS temporarily accepting scanned signatures and allowing e-mail transmission for certain documents

published in McAfee & Taft LINC | April 3, 2020

The Internal Revenue Service has traditionally accepted certain taxpayer documents only when the taxpayer delivers an originally-signed copy of the document to the IRS. Now, in an internal memorandum dated March 27, 2020, the IRS stated that, as a result of its employees, taxpayers and taxpayer representatives working remotely and to limit the need to mail paper documents, through July 15, 2020, it will allow scanned or photographed taxpayer signatures for certain documents and will allow its employees to both accept and send e-mailed documents.

Documents covered by the memorandum include: extensions of statute of limitations on assessment and collection, waivers of statutory notices of deficiency and consents to assessment, and closing agreements and other documents that have no standard filing procedure, such as powers of attorney. Documents with a standard filing procedure, such as tax returns, presumably must still be filed pursuant to the applicable procedure.

When e-mailing documents to IRS personnel, the taxpayer must include the following statement in the body of the e-mail or in an attachment in the e-mail: “The attached [name of document] includes [name of taxpayer]’s valid signature, and the taxpayer intends to transmit the document to the IRS.”

When sending e-mails to the taxpayer or taxpayer representative, IRS personnel must use an IRS-approved system where attachments are encrypted and password protected.

The IRS provided that the memorandum expires on July 15, 2020, which coincides with the previously announced July 15 extended deadline for filing and paying certain 2019 income taxes.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Alan Holloway or any McAfee & Taft tax attorney.