Should you move to electronic signatures for Form 8879?
The IRS does allow Form 8879 to be signed electronically, but there’s a catch. The IRS requires that the electronic signature software you use must include identity verification. Software providers, based on compliance guidance from the NIST, use knowledge-based authentication (KBA) questions to meet the requirement. This can add friction and cost. Clients fail KBA questions between 10% and 15% of the time. And firms have to pay per Form 8879 for the KBA loop. So is moving to electronic signatures worth it?
Some clients will demand an all-electronic experience. Some clients will prefer electronic but won’t be able to accurately answer the KBA questions. And some clients will insist on wet signatures. Most firms will have a mix of all three. As long as you have some clients who’d rather sign on screen, adding eSignature is worth it — because not adding the option to eSign could send those clients elsewhere.
With an eSign option, you can tailor a signature method to satisfy every client’s preference.
Here are a few options you can provide clients with how to sign an 8879:
- Print, sign, and take a photo using the Liscio Mobile App.
- Electronically sign (requires all signers to successfully answer identity verification questions) through Liscio's eSignature solution. (Liscio uses LexisNexis as a third-party Knowledge Base Authenticator - this is the industry standard and does have an additional cost.)
- Drop off a signed copy at our office.