Prime 10 Developments, Classes and Reminders of 2020

2020 saw significant developments, lessons and reminders:

(10) Tax Preparers Can Use Electronic Signatures To File Tax Documents. Although tax preparers are permitted to sign electronically to file returns on behalf of their clients for federal purposes, preparers were previously required to obtain a “wet signature” on an e-file authorization for New York purposes. As a result of a law enacted on Aug. 24, 2020 and immediately effective, preparers are now authorized to accept electronic signatures on e-file authorizations to file tax documents on behalf of their clients (N.Y. Tax Law §177-aa). According to guidance (TSB-M-20(1) C, 2(I), issued Oct. 6, 2020) from the Department of Taxation and Finance (the Department), the Department will not require that any specific technology be used, but the electronic signature process must identify and authenticate the taxpayer. For remote transactions, the preparer must record the name, Social Security number, address, and date of birth of the taxpayer, and verify that the personal information on record is consistent with the information provided through record checks with the applicable agency or institution or through credit bureaus or similar databases.