TaxWise® Desktop e-Signature Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is an Electronic Signature?

A: An electronic signature, as defined by the United States E-SIGN Act, is "an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record." 

TaxWise is providing this capability directly within your tax software.  This will allow you and your clients to sign returns electronically eliminating the hassle of obtaining a handwritten signature.

Q: How does e-Signature improve my workflow?

A: This will improve the existing workflow in several ways;

  • Increase the efficiency of the tax preparation process, allowing for more returns
  • Cutting operating costs - reduce costs associated with printing, mailing, faxing, and storing physical copies of documents
  • Improved customer experience - customers can sign from anywhere on any device with internet access.

 

Q: Is e-Signature compliant with the IRS?    

A: Yes. e-Signature exceeds the requirements the IRS published for obtaining electronic signatures on Federal Form 8878 and Form 8879 (Click here to review IRS requirements). Over half of the states are satisfied by the Federal Form 8878/8879 or do not have a requirement.  Please check with your state to ensure compliance with their specific requirements for gaining e-file authorization.

Q: How does e-Signature work with TaxWise?

A: Once the documents are ready for signing, open the TaxWise Print window and click the e-Signature icon.  Clients can sign documents whether they are present at or away from your office.  When clients are at the office, select in-person signing.  When clients cannot sign at the office, select remote signing.

Q: What is the difference with the signing experience between an in-person and a remote transaction?

A: If the client is in your office, select the option for in-person signing.  The IRS requires that the identity of a new client be verified by checking an accepted form of identification (Click here to review acceptable forms of identifications).  The client will then be prompted to sign the document.

If the client is unable to visit the office for signing, select the option for remote signing.  An email will be sent to the client's email address on file, notifying the client there is a document to review and sign.  When the client clicks the link in the email, they will be securely connected to TaxWise e-Signature.  When signing Form 8878/8879, the IRS requires that the remote signer pass a series of questions to authentic their identity within three attempts.  This form of identity authentication is commonly referred to as knowledge based authentication (KBA).  If a remote signer fails three attempts, they must provide you with a hand written signature on Form 8878/8879.  

Q: What is knowledge based authentication (KBA)?

A: Knowledge based authentication contains a series of multiple choice questions about past residences, possessions and transactions based on 30 years of public databases for that signer.

Q: Will I be charged for using e-Signature?

A: There is not a charge when the client is present in the office for signing.  However, there is a flat charge that includes all signers when gathering signatures from clients that cannot visit the office.  The amount will vary based on whether or not it includes knowledge based authentication (KBA).

If the document does not include KBA, there is a flat $1 charge.

If the document includes a KBA, it's a flat $4 charge and includes the maximum number of attempts for authentication, three per signer, for up to two client(s). The IRS requires a KBA for individual tax returns that include the Federal Form 8879, when the signer is not present at the office. 

Q: How will I be charged for remote signing with e-Signature?  

A: The main office is responsible for all e-Signature remote signing charges.  If there is credit available on the account, TaxWise will utilize these funds prior to charging the credit card or ACH on file. 

Q: Will I receive a report that shows the e-Signature usage?

A: Yes. The main office will receive a report that will show all of your transactions. 

Q: Do I have to use e-Signature with all of my returns?  

A: e-Signature is not required with all returns. E-Signature is being offered to clients to provide convenience and improve workflow when gathering signatures on individual tax returns and Forms 8878/8879.

Q: Do I need to purchase any hardware to use e-Signature?

A: No. Everything you need to use e-Signature is available with your computer or mobile device. 

Q: What are the system requirements to use e-Signature?

A: Operating System:

  • Windows 10
  • MacOS X v10.4.11 and above 
  • iOS 4.0+
  • Android 2.0+

Web Browser:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer, version 9.0 and higher
  • Google Chrome, version 12 and higher. See below on opening PDFs in Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox, version 3.0 and higher. See below on opening PDFs in Firefox
  • Safari, version 4.1.3 and higher
  • Opera, version 8.0 and higher

*Note that other browser configurations may work, but have not been specifically tested nor approved for use.

Q: Where are the completed forms stored?

A: A copy of all signed documents and audit trails are stored in a secure repository which meets the highest level of security for data storage.  While these documents can be downloaded on demand, it is recommended that you download and save these documents after each transaction. 

Q: Are the signed documents secure?  

A: Absolutely. In fact, TaxWise e-Signature, is a digital signature, which is more secure than many of the electronic signature products on the market.  The entire signing process uses the highest levels of security and is sealed every step of the way making it completely tamper proof.  Plus, every signing ceremony includes an audit trail that contains a high level of detail about the transaction. 

Q: How do clients receive their signed copy?

A: Clients will receive an email with a link immediately after all parties complete the signing process. Signers can use this link to access the repository where documents are securely stored.  After entering their PIN, they created at the time of signing, they can download their documents.

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