IRS extends popular flexibilities set to expire; electronic signatures and encrypted email enhance the taxpayer experience


IR-2023-199, Oct. 30, 2023

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it has extended certain temporary flexibilities. The acceptance of digital signatures is extended indefinitely until more robust technical solutions are deployed, and encrypted email when working directly with IRS personnel has been extended until Oct. 31, 2025.

Put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, the flexibilities promoted secure and effective communications and were well received by tax professionals and taxpayers who reported that allowing for the use of electronic or digital signatures saved time and resources.

"We heard from tax professionals and taxpayers as well as our employees about how the flexibilities made it easier to comply with tax requirements and communicate with IRS compliance personnel," said Doug O'Donnell, IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement. "While these digital flexibilities were critical during the pandemic, it's equally important to continue to offer options as the IRS moves toward a fully digital environment. We will continue to review our processes to identify areas where we can leverage technology to reduce burden on the tax community while maintaining critical security and protections against identity theft and fraud."

As a result, Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) 10.10.1 was updated to allow the acceptance of alternatives to handwritten signatures for certain tax forms and the ability to accept images of signatures and digital signatures in compliance interactions. A listing of allowable signature options can be found in IRM Exhibit 10.10.1-2 on

In addition, Interim Guidance Memorandum PGLD-10-1023-0002 PDF provides for the receipt and transmission of documents through Oct. 31, 2025, using email with encryption when working person-to-person with IRS personnel to address compliance or resolve issues in ongoing or follow-up authenticated interactions (primarily with field compliance, Independent Office of Appeals, Counsel and Taxpayer Advocate Service personnel). This guidance remains in effect until the IRS fully implements long-term solutions for secure electronic communication channels with taxpayers as alternatives to encrypted email.

On March 27, 2020, the IRS issued guidance allowing for the acceptance of digital signatures and the receipt and transmission of documents via email during compliance interactions. The IRS also permitted the use of electronic or digital signatures on certain paper forms that required a handwritten signature. These digital flexibilities were subsequently extended to Oct. 31, 2023.