Electronic Document Management: Signing a Paperless Form

Electronic Document Management: Signing a Paperless Form

Electronic signatures offer tremendous benefits for getting documents processed within a paperless environment. Being able to sign an official document with a tablet, smartphone, or computer, is much speedier and less tedious than scanning, mailing,  faxing, emailing, or delivering paper documents. When deadlines are looming, and signatures are needed immediately, there is no faster method than with an e signature.

To provide e signature capability, eFileCabinet has partnered with RightSignature, and has their e signature software integrated within eFileCabinet products. This technology is more viable today than ever before:  80% of the world’s population has a smartphone, and 89% of smartphone users carry them constantly throughout the day. To better use the potential offered by e signature technology, we’ve outlined some of the basic requirements here:

What Exactly is an Electronic Signature?

There are two acts that establish the legality of electronic signatures in the United States:

  • Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN, 2000)
  • Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA, 1999)

Additional laws that support digital signatures:

  • PIPEDA
  • GPEA
  • UETA
  • Commodity Futures Trading Commissions 17 CFR part 1 sec. 3
  • Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Sec. 11.3

Both ESIGN and UETA establish that electronic records and signatures carry the same weight and legal effect as traditional paper documents and handwritten signatures stating:

A document or signature cannot be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form”

If you make a mark on a form, through checking a check box, entering characters, a mouse click, or touch screen signature, it is legally binding just like a physical pen and paper would be.

Electronic Signature Guidelines

Guidance for Forms 8878 and 8879 (updated on 11/06/2014)

As a general rule, e signature software must record the following data:

  • Digital image of the signed form
  • Date and time of the signature
  • Taxpayer’s computer IP address and login identification/user name
  • Identity verification: taxpayer’s knowledge based authentication passed results (utilizing RightSignature custom-specified password feature)
  • Method used to sign the record, system log, or other audit trail that reflects the completion of the electronic signature process by the signer.

An electronic signatures are just as good as paper equivalent, and therefore subject to the same legal scrutiny of authenticity that applies to paper documents.

What are Electronic Signature Requirements?

To comply with identity verification requirements, RightSugnature recommends that the electronic return originator (ERO):

  • Record and verify taxpayers name, social security number, address, and date of birth
  • Use RightSignature’s custom-specified password feature to require the taxpayer to answer a knowledge-based challenge question before signing )this feature may be activated upon request)

What Sorts of Things Can You Sign Electronically?

  • Any transaction relating to the conduct of business or commercial affairs between two or more persons (including W9 documents)
  • Electronic tax returns

 

Electronic Signatures at eFileCabinet

  • Simple to use– With e signature at eFileCabinet, you can sign across any platform
  • Clearly traceable and authenticable– with electronic document signing you can show proof and track the event sequences
  • Work within the natural workflow of organizations– We’re committed to enabling technological adoptions while maintaining efficiency, taking just a few seconds for a signature

Benefits of Electronic Signatures

The e-signature option helps reduce expenses like paper, printing, postage and physically storing the documents. Also, space and time-consuming efforts spent obtaining a physically signed authorization form are greatly reduced. eFileCabinet is very excited to have e signature technology by RightSignature integrated within our own products. To learn more about how electronic signatures can benefit your business or tax practice, fill out the form on this page for a free eFileCabinet offer.