Using E-Signatures to Sign Your Tax Returns

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Using E-Signatures to Sign Your Tax Returns

Many individuals take advantage of e-signatures when it comes to signing their tax returns, and there are numerous benefits to doing so. For individuals who are still unsure about e-signatures, it’s important to know their legal validity as well as the advantages of using e-signatures to sign your tax returns.

Filers Must Use an E-Signature for Electronic Returns

If you plan on filing your tax documents electronically, you must use an electronic signature. The signature comes in the form of a typed name as well as a five digit PIN (personal identification number). You will choose any PIN you want, so it’s simple to pick something you will remember easily. Most types of tax software will walk you through the process of choosing a PIN and signing your tax documents electronically. It’s important to know that an e-signature is just as legal and valid as a traditional signature, according to the Electronic Signature Act signed by former President Clinton in 2000.

Tax Returns Come Back Faster with E-Signatures

When your taxes are electronically filed, you will receive your return much faster than if you print, traditionally sign, and send your tax documents through the mail. In fact, most folks receive their returns within just a few weeks or less. Those who send the physical tax documents in will often wait between several weeks and even a few months to receive their tax returns. If you have your tax return deposited to a bank account, you can receive it even faster.

Safety and Security

When using an e-signature to sign your tax documents, you shouldn’t worry about safety and security. Depending upon the tax software you use, you will benefit from different types of security. Other individuals won’t be able to access your tax documents unless they know the PIN you’ve chosen. Also, as the information is transmitted, most of the time it is encrypted so even if someone were able to get it, they wouldn’t be able to understand it. It’s important to make sure your tax filing software or platform uses encryption and high level security.

Other Benefits of E-Signatures for Tax Returns

In addition to receiving your tax returns back faster, there are other benefits to using an e-signature for your tax returns. Individuals who are environmentally conscious don’t have to worry about the wasted paper that comes along with printing copies for the IRS as well as personal files and records. It’s possible to file electronically and use an e-signature for free. Also, there is more security with an e-signature, because other individuals don’t have access to your PIN, whereas anyone could attempt to forge your signature on a physical document.

Utilizing the benefits of e-signatures to sign your tax returns is a wise and smart decision, and something many individuals have been doing for several years now. From enhanced safety and security to faster returns, those who haven’t utilized e-signatures yet should consider it this year when filing their taxes.

The Evolution of Signatures

History of electronic signaturesA signature is a very powerful thing. Since the beginning, the signature has been a physical representation of a person’s word, or promise, to follow through with specific actions. The signature has evolved quite a bit, but even in these modern times, when a signature can be given through email or on a website, it still stands for a promise given from one person or company to another.


In 1776, when John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence, he did so with a quill pen and ink. One of the first methods of actually writing a signature, ink was used to allow individuals to give their promise, in writing, to others. Even today, signatures created with an ink and quill pen are used to study the characteristics and traits of the individuals who signed. In times like these, when a signature was needed, an individual had to be in person and most of the time, witnesses were present to view the signing and sometimes were called on to verify a signature and it’s authenticity.


Those who signed with pen, whether it was felt tip or ball point, were still giving a promise using their name, and still signing in person and sometimes in the presence of a witness. While the method is without a doubt more convenient and easier than ink and a quill pen, individuals are still required to be present in order to sign their names to documents and paperwork.

Email Signatures

As email became more and more popular, email signatures were created. These are a little different from a regular signature, as the purpose of email signatures are not to seal a promise, but simply to provide information about the sender. Email signatures are commonly used to include business information like website URLs, contact phone numbers, and blog URLs. Email signatures are convenient and a good way to help promote websites and other information.

Fax Signatures

With the convenience of the fax machines, providing signatures became even easier. Individuals could fax paperwork to the recipient, who could then sign it, and fax it back. This was a serious advance in business and other industries, because individuals could sign their names to documents without being present. However, there are drawbacks with faxed signatures, especially for businesses and companies trying to go green. The waste of paper and delay are disadvantages, although faxes are certainly more convenient than having to meet in person or have papers mailed physically to the recipient.


The most convenient method of signing documents these days is the e-signature. Unlike faxes, there is no wasted paper in order for an individual to sign a document with an e-signature. These documents can be sent via email and signed as a PDF document. The greatest thing about e-signatures is that they are just as legally binding as a traditional signature, making them convenient for business use and other important documents and paperwork that must be signed. They’re even revolutionizing the healthcare industry.

Overall, the evolution of signatures has been a long one, and the huge advances made have created safer, easier and more convenient methods of signing a document, or providing a promise.