The IRS will now allow digital signatures for certain forms, as well as the option to send and receive encrypted documents through email!

Written by March 28, 2022

In the past, the IRS has required physical signatures. That often means taxpayers and representatives mail documents back and forth, unless they can meet in person. Meeting in person has been tentative for about two years now, and even before the pandemic it was common for taxpayers to have representatives outside of their area. For example, Cal Poly’s LITC in San Luis Obispo regularly represents people living in Santa Barbara, an hour and a half away by car. 

Now, the IRS will allow people to do digital signatures or images of signatures. However, they’re only allowing digital signatures for certain forms, which they list here:

Hopefully in the future this list will grow. The option to send and receive encrypted documents through email is also allowed only for certain compliance interactions. It is “…only available for those working with an enforcement employee to resolve an examination or collection activity,” according to the IRS website. 

With these new digital options, it is important to remember–tax scams! It is very common for tax scammers pretending to be the IRS to use email. Do not respond to an email from the IRS unless they establish contact with physical mail first. If they have contacted you through physical mail, and you want to use the email option for sending and receiving documents, you should contact them on the phone and request the email option.

This link to the U.S. Department of the Treasury explains how to encrypt Microsoft Office and PDF documents:

We hope all goes well for you this tax season!


Note: This information cannot take the place of advice from a lawyer. Each case is different and needs individual legal advice. You should contact the LITC or a private attorney if you need representation on a tax matter or if you have questions.

~Josh Zarrinnaal