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Letter to TAX on expanding allowable electronic signatures on tax documents  

Dec. 17, 2020 
Craig M. Burns 
Tax Commissioner 
Virginia Department of Taxation 
P. O. Box 546 
Richmond, VA 23218-0546  

RE: Expansion of allowable electronic signatures on tax documents  

Dear Commissioner Burns: 

The Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) Tax Advisory Committee would like to request the Virginia Department of Taxation (TAX) expand its acceptance of electronic signatures in light of the recommendations for continued remote work and client service during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

As we approach upcoming tax filing season, it is imperative that TAX adopt policies and guidance that will enable taxpayers and tax practitioners to safely, securely and efficiently file taxes. Many states have already adopted guidance and we ask that Virginia make similar allowances as follows: 

For tax and information returns and all other tax-related documents, including Powers of Attorney for tax matters and e-file authorizations for tax forms, a signature that is an “alternative signature” will be regarded by TAX as having the same force and effect as an original signature. An “alternative signature” includes an electronic version of an original signature, including a photographed, scanned, stamped or other facsimile of an original signature, or any digital or electronic signature purporting to be an original signature, including those created through third-party software. 

TAX should not require a separate signature form for electronic filing if the IRS has accepted the practitioner into the IRS electronic filing program and where the practitioner has received the taxpayer’s properly executed IRS Form 8879 e-file signature authorization form for the federal return that correlates with the taxpayer’s Virginia filing. 

The Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) is the leading professional association in the Commonwealth dedicated to empowering CPAs to thrive. Founded in 1909, the VSCPA has more than 13,000 members who work in public accounting, industry, government and education. Please feel free to contact me or VSCPA Vice President, Advocacy Emily Walker, CAE, at (804) 612-9428 or [email protected] if we can be of further assistance. 

Sincerely, 

Vivian J. Paige, CPA 
Chair, 2020–2021 Tax Advisory Committee 
Virginia Society of CPAs  

CC:     Secretary of Finance Aubrey L. Layne, CPA 
    Patrick Cushing — VSCPA Legislative Counsel