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IRS Extends Acceptance of Digital Signatures and Emailed Documents

The IRS has extended, through December 31, 2020, the period during which it will accept digital signatures and emailed documents.
In March 2020, the IRS announced that, temporarily, it may deviate from established procedures and accept images of signatures (scanned or photographed) and digital signatures on documents related to the determination or collection of a tax liability. Also, temporarily, IRS employees may accept documents from and transmit documents to taxpayers via email using SecureZip or other authorized secured messaging system. This guidance was set to expire on July 15, 2020.

Digital Signatures and Emailed Documents

The categories of documents include: extensions of statute of limitations on assessment or collection; waivers of statutory notices of deficiency and consents to assessment; agreements to specific tax matters or tax liabilities (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.

Digital imaged signatures. The IRS will accept images of signatures (scanned or photographed), including, but not limited to, the common file types supported by Microsoft 365 (tiff, jpg, jpeg, pdf, Microsoft Office suite, or Zip). The IRS will also accept digital signatures that use encryption techniques (e.g., DocuSign) to provide proof of original and unmodified documentation on common file types supported by Microsoft 365 (tiff, jpg, jpeg, pdf, Microsoft Office suite, or Zip).

Receiving emailed documents. IRS employees may use all existing and previously allowable means of receiving documents such as eFax or established secured messaging systems. If the taxpayer is not able to eFax the executed document or to provide it through established secure messaging, the taxpayer may use an email with attachments to transmit documents to the IRS if certain security steps, identified in the memo, are taken.

Emailing documents to a taxpayer. If the taxpayer or taxpayer’s representative does not have eFax capability or the IRS employee does not have eFax capability, then an IRS employee may, with the taxpayer’s consent, email the documents to the taxpayer as an attachment encrypted using SecureZip or one of the other encryption methods described in the memo. When using an encrypted attachment, IRS employees must take certain security steps described in the memo.

No personal email. Finally, the memo reminds IRS employees they are prohibited from using personal email
accounts for IRS government work.

For more information about this article, please contact our tax professionals at or toll free at 844.4WINDES (844.494.6337).
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