Pursuant to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.15 issued in response to the Coronavirus COVID-19 situation, the Department of Taxation and Finance (Tax) is temporarily authorized to accept digital signatures in place of handwritten signatures on documents related to the determination or collection of tax liability. This notice defines the requirements for Tax’s acceptance of digital signatures and sets forth the types of documents to which digital signatures may be applied.
Through May 9, 2020, Tax will allow taxpayers and their representative(s) holding a valid power of attorney (POA) to digitally sign documents such as: waivers of statutes of limitations on assessment or collection, waivers of statutory notices of deficiency and consents to assessment, consents to audit changes and BCMS conferee orders, statements of proposed audit changes, closing and other agreements between Tax and taxpayers, petitions for advisory petitions and BCMS conferences, other requests for taxpayer relief, and audit method elections.
Tax cannot accept a digitally signed POA.
Tax will accept digital signatures that use encryption techniques to provide proof of original and unmodified documentation on one of the following file types: tiff, jpg, jpeg, PDF, Microsoft Office suite, or Zip.
When submitting a digital signature to Tax, the taxpayer or POA must include a verification statement, either in the form of an attached cover letter or within the body of the email, to the effect: The attached [name of document] includes [name of taxpayer/POA]’s valid signature and the taxpayer/POA intends to transmit the attached document to the Department of Taxation and Finance.
The Commissioner of Taxation and Finance has determined that this directive will apply to the types of documents described in Section 1 above. While the following list is not intended to be an exclusive or exhaustive list, the following documents are specifically included among those that Tax will accept if digitally executed on or before May 9, 2020:
Note: To be accepted, the digital signature on the authorized document must comply with the requirements set forth in section 1.
When submitting a digital signature to Tax, to eliminate mailing documents to the extent possible, taxpayers, POAs, and Tax employees can use all existing and previously allowable means of receiving and transmitting documents, such as via fax or established secured messaging systems. The choice to transmit documents to Tax electronically is solely that of the taxpayer. If the taxpayer is not able to fax the executed document or to provide it through secure messaging, the taxpayer may use email with attachments to transmit the document to Tax.
Communications via unencrypted email over the internet are not secure. Except for minimal identifying information in the body of the email, for example, name, last four digits of a taxpayer identification number (TIN), you should keep sensitive information out of the subject line and body of emails and should use password-protected encrypted attachments as much as possible. The document must be in one of the file types specified in section 1 above, that is, tiff, jpg, jpeg, PDF, Microsoft Office suite, or Zip.
Note: An N-Notice is generally issued to announce a singular event, such as an update to a previously issued tax form or instruction, or to announce a new due date for filing returns and making payments of tax because of a natural disaster. The department does not revise previously issued N-Notices.