The IRS still needs to establish uniform procedures for accepting electronic signatures on the forms that taxpayers use to authorize others to view their tax return information or to delegate power of attorney, the National Association of Enrolled Agents said in a new letter.
The agency was required to take this action within six months of the Taxpayer First Act’s (Pub. L. 116-25) enactment July 1, 2019. But NAEA in an April 1 letter to the IRS says the agency never met the deadline—even after announcing in a recent internal memo that it would be more flexible with its e-signature policies to allow taxpayers and advisers to complete tasks remotely during the new coronavirus pandemic.
- NAEA said the IRS already has existing programs and frameworks in place that the agency could easily model or update at little to no cost.
- “Without a clear statement from IRS, we believe our practitioner tax software vendors will not provide an electronic signature solution for these forms,” the group said.
- “Because a significant portion of shelter-in-place taxpayers will not have access to faxes and even printers, EAs will potentially be forced back into an unsecured digital environment for communicating with our clients in order to obtain the proper authorization to represent them,” the group said. It added that the Covid-19 outbreak should act as a driver to establish the e-signature procedures.