eSignature overview

Alerts and notices

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Using the eSignature feature in UltraTax CS, you can easily gather electronic signatures from your clients for the following documents.

Notes

  • The eSignature feature is optional and is not enabled by default.
  • If a state or local tax return does not require an e-file signature authorization, that jurisdiction's tax return will not be listed as an eSignature document to review. For e-file signature authorization forms, such as Form 8879, only the tax returns that pertain to that e-file signature authorization form will be listed as eSignature documents to review. See the State Electronic Filing Guide for information on e-file signature authorization for states.
  • For information on how many times a form can be eSigned, see 1040-US eSignature: How many times a form can be eSigned.
  • The items above are sent with the package unless suppressed on Screen eSign in the Electronic Filing folder. These fields will proforma into next year's version of UltraTax CS regardless of whether you suppress these fields in the current-year application.
  • For electronically filed extensions (Form 4868), a signature document is required only when the taxpayer is requesting that the IRS use direct debit from a bank account for the balance due. In this case, eSignature is available for the required signature on Form 8878. 

Pricing

You can choose between per-document or unlimited pricing options. For pricing information on unlimited packages, contact your Sales Representative. If you don't have an unlilmited package, you will incur a nominal, per-document/package of documents fee for each successful completion of eSignatures. For the fee amounts, see the CS Professional Suite Price List PDF. To see examples of common pricing scenarios, see eSignature pricing.

A package is a document or set of documents included in a single transmission. Fees are only charged when all signatures for the package are successfully completed.

Enable the eSignature feature

To enable the eSignature feature, complete these steps. 

  1. Choose Setup > Office Configuration.
  2. Click the eSignature tab.
  3. Mark the Enable electronic signatures (eSignatures) ($) checkbox.

    Note: After marking the Enable electronic signatures (eSignatures) checkbox, you will be prompted to accept the Thomson Reuters electronic signature terms and conditions. A similar notification appears whenever a member of the firm transmits an eSignature document via CS Connect for the first time.

  4. Choose a destination for the signed item in the Signed document / form destination group box. When you retrieve completed eSignatures via CS Connect, UltraTax CS will store the electronically-signed documents in the specified location on your hard drive or network or in FileCabinet CS / GoFileRoom, if licensed.
  5. NetFirm CS users only: If you're licensed for NetFirm and NetClient CS, UltraTax CS will automatically create and send a client copy of the tax return to the NetClient portal with the eSignature documents. You'll incur normal monthly NetClient CS fee(s) when these are sent. If you do not intend on using NetClient CS portals to send tax returns to your clients, mark the Suppress Web Tax Return when creating an eSignature box. 
  6. Click Done.

Notes

  • The eSignature process requires a valid email address. Choose Setup > Client Communications and enter your client's email address in the Email Address column.
  • If you are licensed for NetFirm CS but do not use NetClient CS portals, mark the Suppress Web Tax Return when creating an eSignature checkbox to prevent UltraTax CS from generating a NetClient CS copy of the return.
  • 1040 returns: If the return has a filing status of married filing joint, a unique email address is required for both the taxpayer and the spouse. To enter an email address for the spouse, choose Sp from the drop-down menu in the Email Address column and then enter the spouse's email address.

Send eSignature documents to your clients

Once the feature is enabled, you can assemble and transmit the documents to your clients to be signed. If desired, you can choose to send the engagement letter and the consent forms with the organizer instead of the tax return. For more information, click a link below.

Clients receive and sign eSignature documents

To view the steps your client will take after you have assembled and transmitted the eSignature documents, see our eSignature demonstration video.

Track and retrieve updated eSignature documents

The UltraTax CS Home Page lets you review the status of each eSignature document that you send to your clients. After the client signs a document, you can retrieve the signed document via CS Connect. For details, see Tracking and retrieving eSignature documents.

Reminder and expiration periods

Your clients will automatically receive reminder emails for any unsigned eSignature documents. The following table details by document type the reminder period and expiration date of pending eSignature documents. When the expiration date passes, the document is no longer available to be signed electronically unless you re-send the eSignature document. Note that fees do not apply to unsuccessful eSignatures such as an expiration. The nominal, per-package eSignature fee applies only for successful eSignatures. 

eSignature document Reminder email sent after Document expires after
Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization (1040 only) 18 hours 3 days
Form 8878, IRS e-filing Signature Authorization for Form 4868 or Form 2350 (1040 only) 18 hours 3 days
FinCEN Form 114a, Record of Authorization to Electronically File FBARs 18 hours 3 days
Bank Account Verification 1 week 1 year
Engagement Letter 1 week 1 year
Consent to Disclose and Use Tax Information (IRC Section 7216) 18 hours 1 year*

*The default expiration date for IRC Section 7216 Consent documents is one year.

Notes

Related topic: How 1040 Return Instructions indicate eSignature of Form 8879