Taxpayers are required to sign electronically filed returns. When your clients sign an electronic tax return by using a Self-Select PIN or Practitioner PIN option, Form 8453 (U.S. Individual Income Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return) or Form 8879 (IRS e-file Signature Authorization) is not required to be filed with the IRS.
The Practitioner PIN method is an additional signature method for taxpayers who use an Electronic Return Originator (ERO) to sign their return by entering a five-digit PIN. The PIN can be any five digits except all zeros. It eliminates the requirement for Form 8453, U.S. Individual Income Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return. When an electronic signature is chosen, no signature documents are required to be filed with the IRS.
Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization, must be retained for three years from the return due date or IRS received date, whichever is later. Form 8879 may be stored electronically but must be retrievable and available should the IRS ask for it. Do NOT send Form 8879 to IRS unless requested and remind your clients not to send Form 8879 to IRS.
There are some instances where taxpayers are ineligible to use either the Self-Select PIN or Practitioner PIN option to sign their electronic return and you must file a paper signature Form 8453 with IRS within three business days after receiving acknowledgement that the IRS has accepted the electronically filed return. For complete information, please visit IRS.gov, keyword PIN.
Form 8878 is for IRS e-file Signature Authorization to allow an ERO to electronically submit form 4868 or form 2350 requesting an extension of time to file for their client.