Details on using e-signatures for certain forms

Updated: September 15, 2021

FS-2021-12, September 2021

To help reduce burden for the tax community, the IRS allows taxpayers to use electronic or digital signatures on certain paper forms they cannot file electronically through December 31, 2021, and the IRS is studying possible further extensions of this option. The agency is balancing the e-signature option with critical security and protection needed against identity theft and fraud. Understanding the importance of electronic signatures to the tax community, the IRS offers an overview about using them on certain forms.

Types of acceptable electronic signatures

The IRS will accept a wide range of electronic signatures. An electronic signature is a way to get approval on electronic documents. It can be in many forms and created by many technologies. Acceptable electronic signature methods include:

  1. A typed name typed on a signature block
  2. A scanned or digitized image of a handwritten signature that's attached to an electronic record
  3. A handwritten signature input onto an electronic signature pad
  4. A handwritten signature, mark or command input on a display screen with a stylus device
  5. A signature created by a third-party software

The IRS doesn't specify what technology a taxpayer must use to capture an electronic signature. The IRS will accept images of signatures (scanned or photographed) including common file types supported by Microsoft 365 such as tiff, jpg, jpeg, pdf, Microsoft Office suite or Zip.

E-signatures on certain paper-filed forms

The IRS allows taxpayers and representatives to use electronic or digital signatures on these paper forms, which they cannot file using IRS e-file:

  • Form 11-C, Occupational Tax and Registration Return for Wagering;
  • Form 637, Application for Registration (For Certain Excise Tax Activities);
  • Form 706, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
  • Form 706-A, U.S. Additional Estate Tax Return;
  • Form 706-GS(D), Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return for Distributions;
  • Form 706-GS(D-1), Notification of Distribution from a Generation-Skipping Trust;
  • Form 706-GS(T), Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return for Terminations;
  • Form 706-QDT, U.S. Estate Tax Return for Qualified Domestic Trusts;
  • Form 706 Schedule R-1, Generation Skipping Transfer Tax;
  • Form 706-NA, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
  • Form 709, U.S. Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
  • Form 730, Monthly Tax Return for Wagers;
  • Form 1066, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit;
  • Form 1120-C, U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations;
  • Form 1120-FSC, U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Sales Corporation;
  • Form 1120-H, U.S. Income Tax Return for Homeowners Associations;
  • Form 1120-IC DISC, Interest Charge Domestic International Sales – Corporation Return;
  • Form 1120-L, U.S. Life Insurance Company Income Tax Return;
  • Form 1120-ND, Return for Nuclear Decommissioning Funds and Certain Related Persons;
  • Form 1120-PC, U.S. Property and Casualty Insurance Company Income Tax Return;
  • Form 1120-REIT, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Investment Trusts;
  • Form 1120-RIC, U.S. Income Tax Return for Regulated Investment Companies;
  • Form 1120-SF, U.S. Income Tax Return for Settlement Funds (Under Section 468B);
  • Form 1127, Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship;
  • Form 1128, Application to Adopt, Change or Retain a Tax Year;
  • Form 2678, Employer/Payer Appointment of Agent;
  • Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method;
  • Form 3520, Annual Return To Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts;
  • Form 3520-A, Annual Information Return of Foreign Trust With a U.S. Owner;
  • Form 4421, Declaration – Executor's Commissions and Attorney's Fees;
  • Form 4768, Application for Extension of Time to File a Return and/or Pay U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Taxes;
  • Form 8038, Information Return for Tax-Exempt Private Activity Bond Issues;
  • Form 8038-G, Information Return for Tax-Exempt Governmental Bonds;
  • Form 8038-GC; Information Return for Small Tax-Exempt Governmental Bond Issues, Leases, and Installment Sales;
  • Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions;
  • Form 8453 series, Form 8878 series, and Form 8879 series regarding IRS e-file Signature Authorization Forms;
  • Form 8802, Application for U.S. Residency Certification;
  • Form 8832, Entity Classification Election;
  • Form 8971, Information Regarding Beneficiaries Acquiring Property from a Decedent;
  • Form 8973, Certified Professional Employer Organization/Customer Reporting Agreement; and
  • Elections made per  Internal Revenue Code  Section 83(b).

The forms are available at IRS.gov and through tax professional's software products.