The IRS on March 27 issued an internal memorandum to all services and enforcement personnel outlining steps to protect IRS employees while executing on critical duties during this time when employees, taxpayers, and their advisors are working remotely due to the coronavirus. Implementation of the temporary relaxation of certain signature rules, which took effect when the memorandum was issued, allows IRS employees to (1) accept scanned or photographed images of signatures and digital signatures on documents related to the determination or collection of tax liability, (2) accept documents via email, and (3) transmit documents to taxpayers using SecureZip or other established secure messaging systems.
The IRS is providing its employees, taxpayers, and their advisors temporary relief allowing them to use email and electronic signatures in certain limited situations during the current crisis. For example, the temporary relief applies to the return of documents to IRS agents during the course of an exam (e.g., statute extensions and closing agreements). However, it does not apply to interactions or filings that involve documents associated with the filing of returns, extensions, or other forms, or elections filed with IRS Service Centers.