The IRS has announced that tax professionals can use a new online tool to upload authorization forms with either electronic or handwritten signatures. The new Submit Forms 2848 and 8821 Online tool is now available at the IRS.gov/TaxPros page. The new tool is part of the IRS’s efforts to develop remote transaction options that help tax practitioners and their individual and business clients reduce face-to-face contact.

Here are a few highlights related to the new online tool:

  • The Submit Forms 2848 and 8821 Online has “friendly” web addresses that can be bookmarked: IRS.gov/submit2848 and IRS.gov/submit8821.
  • Authorization forms uploaded through this tool will be worked on a first-in, first-out basis along with mailed or faxed forms.
  • To access the tool, tax professionals must have a Secure Access username and password from an IRS account such as e-Services. Tax professionals without a Secure Access username and password should see IRS.gov/SecureAccess for information they need to successfully authenticate their identity and create an account.
  • Forms 2848 and 8821 and the instructions are being revised. Versions dated January 2021 are available. The prior version of both forms will be accepted for a period of time.
  • Tax professionals may use handwritten or any form of an electronic signature for the client or themselves on authorization forms submitted through the new online tool. Authorization forms that are mailed or faxed must still have handwritten signatures.
  • Tax professionals must authenticate the identities of unknown clients who signed the authorization form with an electronic signature in a remote transaction. IRS Frequently Asked Questions (at https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/submit-forms-2848-and-8821-online#2848-8821-faqs) provide authentication options for individual and business clients.
  • For business clients, in addition to authenticating the taxpayer, tax professionals must also verify that the individual has a covered relationship with the business.
  • Tax professionals entering the tool for the first time must accept the terms of service. This is a one-time entry.
  • The tool will ask a series of questions that a user must answer to correctly route the forms to the proper Centralized Authorization File (CAF) unit.
  • The client’s taxpayer identification number must be entered before the tax professional selects the authorization file for upload.
  • Once the uploaded file is visible, the tax professional selects “submit” to send the file to the CAF.
  • Tax professionals can use various file formats, including PDF or image files such as JPG or PNG. Only one file may be uploaded at a time.
  • The word “success” will appear if the submission goes through. The tool then gives tax professionals the option to upload another file without the need to go through secure access again.
  • Tax professionals can also view an “Uploading Forms 2848 and 8821 with Electronic Signatures” webinar, at https://www.irsvideos.gov/Webinars/UploadingForms2848And8821WithElectronicSignatures.

The tool is intended to be a bridge until an all-digital option launches in the summer of 2021. The IRS has plans to launch the Tax Pro Account in 2021 which will allow tax professionals to digitally sign third-party authorizations and send them to the client’s IRS online account for digital signature.