Making Tax Season More Efficient with E-Signatures

Mar 1st 2017
Executive Vice President SIGNiX
Columnist
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Just as companies are trying to meet the growing demand for paperless offices, many tax and accounting firms are working to finalize their digital processes.

The good news is that it doesn’t take a national firm, myriad platforms, or a big capital expense to go digital. In fact, it could be as simple as incorporating the right e-signature solution into your existing tax software – which puts individual tax preparers and small firms on the same playing field as large national firms.

The IRS recognized the need to offer electronic tax filing capabilities and began permitting the use of e-signatures for executing tax documents back in 2014. If you or your clients have not yet embraced e-signatures, here are just a few of the benefits for both taxpayers and tax preparers:

  • Decreased paper usage: Documents are created, completed, and signed electronically, so the need for paper is dramatically reduced. And because records can be saved digitally, paper storage is no longer necessary.
  • Faster refunds: If your client files a paper tax return, he has to wait weeks before receiving his refund by mail. If your client files his taxes electronically using e-signatures, however, he has the option to sign up for a direct deposit refund from the IRS – allowing him to receive his refund in a matter of days, not weeks.
  • Improved accuracy: E-signatures ensure that forms are not left blank or incomplete before being submitted. As a result, you’ll spend less time checking for a document’s completion, and you won’t ever have to resend a form to be completed again.
  • Reduced transaction time: Instead of faxing or mailing tax documents to a client and waiting for them to be returned, your client can securely download documents and submit his approval remotely with e-signatures, saving you time and your client inconvenience.

It’s clear that there are certain advantages to using e-signatures in the tax-filing process, but how can you know which e-signature platform is right for your clients? With sensitive information on the line, protecting your clients’ data must be the first priority.

In an effort to maintain the security of taxpayers’ information, the IRS now requires that e-signature software used to file taxes records the following data:

  • Digital image of the signed form.
  • Date and time of the signature.
  • Taxpayer’s computer IP address.
  • Taxpayer’s login identification.
  • Proof of knowledge-based identity authentication.
  • Method used to sign the record.
  • Tamper-evident seal.

So, instead of sifting through piles of paperwork, make this tax season more efficient for both you and your clients with e-signatures.

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