Temporary Relief from Handwritten Signature Requirement for Limited List of Tax Forms

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[co-author: Ishani Kundu, Law Clerk]

On August 27, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service issued a memorandum (“Memorandum”) (see link) allowing taxpayers and their representatives to temporarily use an electronic or digital signature when signing certain tax forms that otherwise would require a handwritten signature (a.k.a., a "wet signature"). The Memorandum lists certain tax forms to which this relief applies, including Form 8832 (Entity Classification Election), Form 8802 (Application for U.S. Residency Certification), and Form 1120-RIC (U.S. Income Tax Return for Regulated Investment Companies), among several others. No specific technology is required to be adopted in order to electronically or digitally sign the Applicable Forms.

The full list of forms included follows:

  • Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method;
  • Form 8832, Entity Classification Election;
  • Form 8802, Application for U.S. Residency Certification;
  • Form 1066, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit;
  • Form 1120-RIC, U.S. Income Tax Return For Regulated Investment Companies;
  • Form 1120-C, U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations;
  • Form 1120-REIT, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Investment Trusts;
  • Form 1120-L, U.S. Life Insurance Company Income Tax Return;
  • Form 1120-PC, U.S. Property and Casualty Insurance Company Income Tax Return; and
  • Form 8453 series, Form 8878 series, and Form 8879 series regarding IRS e-file Signature Authorization Forms.

The Memorandum is effective for Applicable Forms that are signed and postmarked beginning on or after August 28, 2020, through December 31, 2020, by which time this temporary relief from required hand-written signatures may have been re-evaluated by the IRS.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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