Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
Electronically sign your Form 8453 when you authenticate your return


We have implemented a new process that allows most nonprofit filers to electronically sign the Form 8453 at the same time that they authenticate their return – thereby combining the Authentication and signature for processes into one step. If you choose this option, you will not need to fax/email a manually signed signature form - the system will automatically attach the electronically signed Form 8453 signature form to your return at the end of the authentication process (and send you a copy of the electronically signed signature form by email).

This new feature is currently not available for returns created by Paid Preparers. Paid Preparers will still need to fax/email us the signature form for their returns. We anticipate adding this functionality for Paid preparers in the first quarter of 2023.

Here are the instructions to use this new feature:
  • The first page of the authentication process now has a new question that asks whether you want to electronically sign the Form 8453 at the same time you authenticate the return. Answer “Yes” to that question.
  • On the next page read the declarations, review the draft copy of the electronically signed Form 8453 signature form and, if everything is OK, click the “Sign Filing” button at the bottom of the Page.
  • The system will send you the Authentication email as normal. When you receive it, click the link in the email and log back into the system. The system will take you to the “Certification” Page
  • To complete the process, click the “Certify” Button on the web page. The system will then generate the final (non-draft) version of the signature form, attach the electronically signed signature form to your return and send you a copy of the signed Form 8453 via email. At that point, your return will be ready to transmit to the IRS. You will not need to fax/email us a copy of the signature form.


Additional Information about electronically signing the Form 8453 Signature form
  1. As mentioned above, Paid Preparers cannot currently use the process. If a return was created by a Paid Preparer, the system will not display the new question that asks the authenticator if they want to electronically sign the return. We plan to add support for paid preparers to electronically sign their returns in the first quarter of 2023.
  2. If a return has a 990 Online fee, the filer can no longer authenticate the return until the fee has been paid. The reason for this as that the system does not generate the final PDFs (including the signature form PDF) until the fee has been paid. So, until the fee is paid, there is no Signature form for the filer to electronically sign.
  3. Nonprofit filers who do not have to pay a fee may see a short delay before the system displays the authentication link after they mark their return as complete. This is because the system now waits to display the authentication link until the final PDFs have been generated. This usually happens within a few seconds of the return being marked as complete. The status page will refresh every 10 seconds until the PDFs have been generated. Once they have been generated, the system will display the Authentication link for the filer.
  4. If a signature form has already been manually attached to a return by tech support prior to the user authenticating the return, the system will not ask the user whether they want to electronically sign the return when they authenticate
  5. The process works for Form 990/State Form Combo filings created by nonprofit users.
  6. This process is only available for returns that were marked as complete on or after 10/22/2022.



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Last modified: October 21, 2022.