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Weekly IRS Roundup November 22 – November 26, 2021

Presented below is our summary of significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance and relevant tax matters for the week of November 22, 2021 – November 26, 2021. Additionally, for continuing updates on the tax impact of COVID-19, please visit our resource page here.

November 22, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum concerning a temporary deviation from the handwritten signature requirement for certain tax forms. To alleviate COVID-19 concerns while promoting timely filing, the IRS will allow taxpayers and representatives to use electronic or digital signatures when signing listed forms that currently require a handwritten signature. No specific technology is required to create the signature. The IRS has listed the eligible forms, which must be postmarked on August 28, 2020, or later.

November 22, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum extending through October 31, 2023, temporary deviations that allow IRS employees to: (1) accept images of signatures and digital signatures on documents related to the determination or collection of tax liability and (2) send or receive documents to or from taxpayers using emails with encrypted attachments when no other approved electronic alternative is available.

November 22, 2021: The IRS released a memorandum providing guidance concerning employee retention credits and the deferral of paying social security taxes in 2020.

November 23, 2021: The IRS published a news release announcing the launch of a new Spanish-language version of the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (CTC-UP). Families who are already receiving monthly payments use the CTC-UP to update their accounts. Now, all the features that have only been available in English are also available in Spanish.

November 26, 2021: The IRS published a notice and request for comments on Form 944, Employer’s Annual Employment Tax Return, and Form 944-X, Adjusted Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund, which are used in part to ensure the smallest non-agricultural and non-household employers are paying the correct amount of social security tax, Medicare tax and withheld federal income tax. Comments are due on or before January 25, 2022.

November 26, 2021: The IRS published a notice and request for comments concerning TD 8857 (addressing the determination of underwriting income by non-life insurance companies), which allows a non-life insurance company to increase unpaid losses on a yearly basis by the amount of estimated salvage recoverable if the company discloses this to the state insurance regulatory authority. Comments are due on or before January 28, 2022.

November 26, 2021: The IRS released its weekly list of written determinations (e.g., Private Letter Rulings, Technical Advice Memorandums and Chief Counsel Advice).

Special thanks to Robbie Alipour in our Chicago office for this week’s roundup.

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IRS Releases Fact Sheet on Acceptable Electronic Signatures

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a fact sheet, providing guidance on acceptable methods for taxpayers to electronically or digitally sign certain paper forms that they cannot file electronically. In order to provide taxpayers with greater flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS previously announced taxpayers may use digital signatures for certain forms through the end of 2021. The newly released fact sheet is the first guidance as to what constitutes an acceptable electronic signature.

The fact sheet notes that the IRS is balancing the flexibility of electronic signatures with security and fraud protections. Electronic signatures accepted by the IRS include:

  • A name typed on a signature block
  • A scanned or digitized image of a handwritten signature that is attached to an electronic record
  • A handwritten signature input onto an electronic signature pad
  • A handwritten signature, mark or command input on a display screen with a stylus device
  • A signature created by a third-party software

Additionally, the IRS will accept images of electronic signatures provided the image is a file type supported by Microsoft Office, such as .jpg, .pdf and .tiff.

The fact sheet provides a list of paper-filed forms—which cannot be e-filed—where a taxpayer may use an electronic signature:

  • Form 11-C, Occupational Tax and Registration Return for Wagering;
  • Form 637, Application for Registration (For Certain Excise Tax Activities);
  • Form 706, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
  • Form 706-A, U.S. Additional Estate Tax Return;
  • Form 706-GS(D), Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return for Distributions;
  • Form 706-GS(D-1), Notification of Distribution from a Generation-Skipping Trust;
  • Form 706-GS(T), Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return for Terminations;
  • Form 706-QDT, U.S. Estate Tax Return for Qualified Domestic Trusts;
  • Form 706 Schedule R-1, Generation Skipping Transfer Tax;
  • Form 706-NA, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
  • Form 709, U.S. Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
  • Form 730, Monthly Tax Return for Wagers;
  • Form 1066, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit;
  • Form 1120-C, U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations;
  • Form 1120-FSC, U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Sales Corporation;
  • Form 1120-H, U.S. Income Tax Return for Homeowners Associations;
  • Form 1120-IC DISC, Interest Charge Domestic International Sales – Corporation Return;
  • Form 1120-L, U.S. Life Insurance Company Income Tax Return;
  • Form 1120-ND, Return for Nuclear Decommissioning Funds and Certain Related Persons;
  • Form 1120-PC, U.S. Property and Casualty Insurance Company Income Tax Return;
  • Form 1120-REIT, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Investment Trusts;
  • Form 1120-RIC, U.S. Income Tax Return for Regulated Investment Companies;
  • Form 1120-SF, U.S. Income Tax Return for Settlement Funds (Under Section 468B);
  • Form 1127, Application for Extension of Time for Payment of Tax Due to Undue Hardship;
  • Form 1128, Application to Adopt, Change or Retain a Tax Year;
  • Form 2678, Employer/Payer Appointment of Agent;
  • Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method;
  • Form 3520, Annual Return To Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts;
  • Form 3520-A, Annual Information Return of Foreign Trust With a U.S. Owner;
  • Form 4421, Declaration – [...]

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