More IRS Forms Go Digital for Contact-Free Signature Options

The Internal Revenue Service is bringing more tax forms into the 21st century while keeping tax professionals and taxpayers alike safer from possible coronavirus transmission.

A new online option from the IRS helps tax pros remotely get signatures from individual and business clients on authorization forms and to submit those forms electronically.

It’s available through secure access

The new tool, Submit Forms 2848 and 8821 Online, is available on the Tax Professionals page of IRS.gov.

Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative and Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization are two forms that allow taxpayers to authorize the IRS to disclose the taxpayer’s tax information to third parties, such as tax professionals.

Form 2848 is a taxpayer’s written authorization that appoints an eligible individual to represent the taxpayer before the IRS—including performing certain acts on behalf of the taxpayer. The form also authorizes the representative to get related confidential information of the taxpayer from the IRS.

Form 8821 is written authorization from the taxpayer that designates a third party to receive and view the taxpayer’s information.

How does it work?

Both the tax pro and the taxpayer must sign Form 2848. With the new online option, the signatures can be handwritten or electronic.

Form 8821, however, only needs the taxpayer’s signature. If submitted through the online tool, that signature can be either handwritten or electronic.

It should be noted that tax professionals who use the online tool for Forms 2848 and 8821 will have to authenticate the identity of their taxpayer clients. See the Authentication section in the online option’s frequently asked questions for details on the process.

The new online option can also be used to withdraw previous authorizations. The new online tool, however, cannot be used to ask questions or address other issues.

And of course, authorization forms can still be mailed or faxed to the IRS. All signatures on forms mailed or faxed to the IRS must be handwritten.

Generally, forms mailed or faxed to the IRS are recorded on the agency’s Centralized Authorization File. The IRS says the authorization forms sent through the new online option will be worked on a first-in-first-out basis along with mailed and faxed forms.

For tax pros seeking more information on the new online filing option for Forms 2848 and 8821, the IRS has a webinar available on Uploading Forms 2848 and 8821 with Electronic Signatures.

SourceIRS Tax Tip 2021-11