Feature image for client guide on electronically signing a tax return prepared by Innovate.

When Innovate Professional Services prepares your individual tax return and you choose to have your tax return electronically filed (“e-filed”), you will be able to electronically sign your return e-file authorization remotely. After we have completed preparing your tax return, you will be sent an e-mail prompting you to “review and sign your tax return E-File authorization”. The e-mail will indicate it was sent from the tax professional who prepared your return.

This allows you to conveniently review the tax return we prepared for you and, when you’re ready to have us e-file it, you can then sign the e-file authorization electronically. This is much more efficient and convenient than having to sign a document in person, mail a signature page, or even print, sign, scan back in and send back a signature page.

The e-mail you receive will look like the following:

Screenshot of an e-mail prompting you to review and sign your tax return in preparation for e-filing.

 

Clicking on the “Review Documents” button will pull up a new web browser window that will request you to validate your identity by providing some key information about yourself:

 

Screenshot of an electronic signature session challenging you to validate your identity.

Note: To successfully authenticate your identity here, you must enter the same information that you provided to us when we prepared your tax return.

Next, you will be taken to a screen that will generate a list of three questions that you will answer to further validate your identity. Once you’ve successfully answered those questions, you will be taken to another screen where you can accept the terms of use, review your tax return and begin to electronically sign it:

Screenshot of the electronic signature platform at the step where it prompts you to accept the terms of use and begin reviewing and signing your tax return.

 

To sign your return e-file authorization forms, look for boxes such as the one highlighted below:

Screenshot of the electronic signature platform illustrating what signature box prompts look like in the system.

 

All of the signature pages will be on top – while the actual return that we prepared will be below it. The return will be watermarked with “DO NOT FILE” across the middle of the page. While we provide a copy of your return here for you to review and ensure you are comfortable with signing the e-file authorization, be sure not to print and file any of these documents.

After you have signed all required fields, the blue bar on the top of the screen will say “Done! Select Finish to send the completed document.” You can then go ahead and click the “Finish” button to complete your electronic signing session.

At this point, a window will pop up suggesting you create a DocuSign account. You’re welcome to decline this or sign up for a free account with DocuSign, but note that this is a third-party organization unrelated to Innovate Professional Services.

If you are filing a joint tax return with your spouse, both you and your spouse will need to separately review your return and sign your e-file authorization forms. After you (and your spouse, if applicable) have signed the e-file authorization forms, you will be sent another e-mail informing you that the tax return has been completely signed. Click on the “View Completed Documents” button in the e-mail to view the completed and signed tax return documents:

Screenshot of the e-mail you will receive notifying you that your tax return is fully signed and ready to be viewed and downloaded.

 

A new web browser window will pop up again and you’ll be able to see the now completed and signed documents. Click on the download button on the gray bar on the top, and click on “Combined PDF” to download your entire tax return in a single PDF to keep with your records:

Screenshot of the electronic signing platform showing how to download a copy of your completed tax return for your records.

 

Once you save or print a copy of your tax return for your records, send an e-mail to your tax professional to notify them that you have signed the documents, and we will e-file your tax return. We will then give you notification within a few days once we receive confirmation that the IRS and any state tax agencies have accepted the tax returns we filed for you.

Blake is a CPA and a law school graduate specializing in taxology, tax and finance process automation and optimization, and cloud accounting systems.

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