The New York Department of Taxation and Finance (“Department”) is temporarily authorized to accept digital signatures in place of handwritten signatures on documents related to the determination or collection of tax liabilities. Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 202.15 and Department Notice N-20-3 provide that the temporary period runs through May 9, 2020.
If a taxpayer’s representative is digitally signing such documents, there must be a valid Power of Attorney (POA) in place with the Department. However, the Department cannot accept a digitally signed POA. The Department will accept digital signatures that use encryption techniques to provide proof of original and unmodified documentation on one of the following file types: tiff, jpg, jpeg, PDF, Microsoft Office suite, or Zip.
When submitting a document or form containing a digital signature to the Department, the taxpayer (or its representative) must include a verification statement, either in the form of an attached cover letter or within the body of an email, which informs the Department of the following: The attached [name of document] includes [name of taxpayer/representative]’s valid signature, and the taxpayer/representative intends to transmit the attached document to the Department of Taxation and Finance.
The types of documents that may temporarily be signed using a digital signature include but are not limited to:
- Waivers of statutes of limitations on assessment or collection
- Waivers of statutory notices of deficiency and consents to assessment
- Consents to audit changes and Bureau of Conciliation & Mediation Services (BCMS) conferee orders
- Statements of proposed audit changes
- Closing and other agreements between the Department and taxpayers
- Petitions for advisory petitions and BCMS conferences
- Audit method elections
Department Notice N-20-3 also provides examples of some of the specific forms that may include a digital signature during this temporary period. Please note that with New York schools and nonessential businesses closed through May 15, 2020, it is currently unclear if this will also impact the Department’s acceptance of digital signatures through only May 9, 2020.
For up-to-date information on topics related to income tax in New York, as well as other states and tax types, please refer to Ryan News & Insights.
TECHNICAL INFORMATION CONTACT:
Mark L. Nachbar
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