FS-2021-01, January 2021 Tax professionals can use a new online tool to upload authorization forms with either electronic or handwritten signatures. This new tool is part of the Internal Revenue Service's efforts to develop remote transaction options that help tax practitioners and their individual and business clients reduce face-to-face contact. Here's what tax professionals need to know: Forms 2848 and 8821 and the instructions are being revised. Versions dated January 2021 will be available shortly. The prior version of both forms will be accepted for a period of time. Tax professionals may use handwritten or any form of an electronic signature for the client or themselves on authorization forms submitted through the new online tool. Authorization forms that are mailed or faxed must still have handwritten signatures. Tax professionals must authenticate the identities of unknown clients who signed the authorization form with an electronic signature in a remote transaction. The Frequently Asked Questions provide authentication options for individual and business clients. For individual clients, these options include: Inspect a valid government-issued photo identification and compare the photo to the taxpayer via a self-taken picture from the taxpayer or video conferencing. Record the name, Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, address and date of birth of the taxpayer. Verify the taxpayer's name, address, and Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number through secondary documentation, such as a federal or state tax return, IRS notice or letter, Social Security card, or credit card or utility statement. For business clients, in addition to authenticating the taxpayer, tax professionals must also verify that the individual has a covered relationship with the business, for exmaple an authorized officer, designee of the board of directors. Form instructions provide detailed requirements. The "Submit Forms 2848 and 8821 Online" tool is available from the IRS.gov/taxpros page. It also has "friendly" web addresses that can be bookmarked: IRS.gov/submit2848 and IRS.gov/submit8821. To access the tool, tax professionals must have a Secure Access username and password from an IRS account such as e-Services. Tax professionals without a Secure Access username and password should see IRS.gov/secureaccess for information they need to successfully authenticate their identity and create an account. Tax professionals entering the tool for the first time must accept the terms of service. This is a one-time entry. The tool will ask a series of questions that a user must answer to correctly route the forms to the proper Centralized Authorization File (CAF) unit. The questions include: Form type: 2848, 8821 or withdrawing or revoking prior authorizations. Whether, if required, the tax professional authenticated the taxpayer's identity. Whether the taxpayer is a domestic or international client. Whether the third-party is working for a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic. The client's taxpayer identification number must be entered before the tax professional selects the authorization file for upload. Once the uploaded file is visible, the tax professional selects "submit" to send the file to the CAF. Tax professionals can use various file formats, including PDF or image files such as JPG or PNG. Only one file may be uploaded at a time. The word "success" will appear if the submission goes through. The tool then gives tax professionals the option to upload another file without the need to go through secure access again. Tax professionals can review the step-by-step process for uploading authorization forms online at Uploading Forms 2848 and 8821 with Electronic Signatures. Authorization forms uploaded through this tool will be worked on a first-in, first-out basis along with mailed or faxed forms. This upload tool, while remaining an option, is intended to be a bridge until an all-digital option launches in the summer of 2021. Plans call for the IRS to launch the Tax Pro Account in 2021. Tax Pro Account will allow tax professionals to digitally initiate and digitally sign third-party authorizations and send them to the client's IRS online account for a digital signature. After the client signs, the authorization will automatically go to the CAF, with almost-immediate processing.