IRS Modifies Multiple Signature Process for Form 1041

The IRS is doing some housework at the end of the year. As part of its regular review process, it has determined that the Multiple Tax Return Listing (MTRL) process used to electronically file Form 1041, US Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts, must be modified. 
 
Currently, if a fiduciary or authorized representative is authorized to sign more than one Form 1041 return, a MTRL may be attached to one Form 8453-F, US Estate or Trust Income Tax Declaration and Signature for Electronic Filing, in lieu of sending separate forms. The MTRL should include the date, transmitter's name and telephone number, the five-digit ETIN, and the number of pages. 
 
The listing should also be formatted to display the nine-digit EIN, Name Control, Tax Period, Total Income, Income Distribution, Taxable Income, Total Tax, and Tax Due/Overpayment of the estate or trust. A MTRL with a maximum of 5,000 estates or trusts may be attached to each Form 8453-F. The signature document for multiple returns must include one Form 8453-F, signed by the fiduciary or authorized representative. 
 
However, beginning January 1, 2014, the IRS e-file Signature Authorization for Form 1041 document, Form 8879-F, may only be used with a single 1041 return. It can no longer be used for multiple forms. There are two reasons for this change cited by the IRS after additional legal review: 
  1. The perjury statement on the form refers to amounts in Part 1 of the form and the relevant amounts are actually on the attached listing.
  2. A signature on one form can't ensure that the signer reviewed and approved each of the Form 1041 in the listing.
Accordingly, the IRS says that the following publications will be updated to reflect the policy change:
  • Publication 1437, Procedures for the 1041 e-File Program US Income Tax Returns for Estates and Trusts for Tax Year 2013
  • Publication 1438, File Specifications, Validation Criteria & Record Layouts for the Form 1041, e-File US Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts for Tax Year 2013
  • Publication 4163, Modernized e-File (MeF) Information for Authorized e-File Providers for Business Returns
  • Publication 4164, Modernized e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers and Transmitters
The IRS recognizes that this change will require some additional work for fiduciaries. It promises to make the transition as smooth as possible.
 
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