December 17, 2020
IRS extends time for signing forms by electronic or digital signature
On December 11, 2020, the IRS announced that it was extending until June 30, 2021, the date through which it will accept e-signatures on certain tax forms that cannot be electronically filed. The IRS had previously announced in several memos that it was accepting e-signatures on specified forms through the end of 2020 (see Tax Alert 2020-2206).
In its most recent memo, the IRS said it would accept electronic or digital signatures for the following forms (no specific technology is required for e-signing the forms), so long as they are signed and postmarked by June 30, 2021:
This marks the third extension of COVID-19-related relief procedures issued by the IRS in the past month. On December 1, 2020, the IRS issued a memo extending to June 30, 2021, the period during which it will accept e-signatures on specified non-return documents, including extensions of the statute of limitations on assessment or collection, waivers of statutory notices of deficiency and consents to assessment, closing agreements, and "any other statement or form needing the signature of a taxpayer or representative traditionally collected by IRS personnel outside of standard filing procedures." On December 9, 2020, the Large Business & International Division similarly announced that it would be extending until June 30, 2021, the authorization for its employees to deviate from the standard Information Document Request (IDR) enforcement procedures when taxpayers are unable to timely respond to IDRs due to COVID-19.
Notwithstanding this relief, not all IRS COVID-19-related relief is expected to be extended through June 2021. Most notably, the temporary fax procedures established by the IRS for the submission of CARES Act-related Forms 1139 and 1045 will no longer be operational after midnight on December 31, 2020 (see Tax Alert 2020-1195). In light of the IRS's considerable backlog of unopened mail and unprocessed paper-filed returns, taxpayers looking to file Forms 1139 or 1045 in the near future may want to take advantage of the faxing procedures while they are still available. Other IRS temporary fax procedures — such as those for the submission of Form 8918, Material Advisor Disclosure Statement; Form 8886, Reportable Transaction Disclosure Statement; and certain Forms 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method — remain available until further notice.