Retention rules vary for state e-file signature authorization forms

Advice

How long should tax professionals hold onto the e-file signature authorizations of their clients? It depends on where they and their clients reside.

Form 8879, “IRS e-file Signature Authorization,” is signed by 1040 taxpayers to, among other things, authorize the electronic return originator to electronically file the taxpayer’s federal tax return. EROs must retain the signed copy of the Form 8879 for three years from the return due date or date the return is filed, whichever comes later. Most states that accept electronic filing of individual tax returns have their own version of an e-file signature authorization form that serves the same purpose as the federal form.

Most states require retention of the state e-file authorization form for three years, like the federal retention period. However, for some states that three-year period is defined differently than the federal three-year retention period. For example, Indiana’s IT-8879 must be retained three years from Dec. 31 of the year it is signed, while Louisiana’s LA8453 must be retained three years from Dec. 31 of the year the return is due. The District of Colombia’s D-40E SUB and New Mexico’s PIT-8453 must be retained three years from the calendar year in which the return is filed.

The retention periods for the Arizona, California, Colorado and Michigan forms are outliers: The retention periods for the California CA8453, Colorado’s CO DR8453 and Arizona’s AZ-8879 are different formulations of a four-year period; and the Michigan MI-8453 must be retained for six years.

The Missouri Department of Revenue requires that the MO-8453 be retained by the ERO but does not set a minimum retention period.

Because electronic filing of the individual tax return for most states is mandatory for tax professionals, it is important for the tax professional to know the e-file signature authorization form retention rules imposed by the various states. Below is a chart that lists those retention rules.

StateFormRetention period
AlabamaAL84533 years from the date due or date filed, whichever is later
ArizonaAZ-8879Minimum of 4 years
ArkansasAR84533 years from the date due or the received date, whichever is later
CaliforniaCA84534 years from the date due or date filed, whichever is later
ColoradoCO DR 84534 years from the date due
DelawareDE-84533 years from the latest date the return could have been timely filed
District of ColumbiaD-40E SUB3 years from the end of the calendar year in which return is filed
GeorgiaGA-84533 years from end of the year the return is filed
IllinoisIL-84533 years
IndianaIT-88793 years from Dec. 31 of the year signed and transmitted
IowaIA 8453-IND3 years from the date due or date filed, whichever is later
Kentucky8879-K3 years
LouisianaLA 84533 years from Dec. 31 of the year the return is due
MarylandEL1013 years from the return due date
MassachusettsM-84533 years from the date the return was filed
MichiganMI-84536 years
MississippiMS8453-IIT3 years from the date due or date filed, whichever is later
MissouriMO-8453MO-8453 must be retained by the ERO. No minimum period required
New JerseyNJ-88793 years from the return due date
New MexicoPIT-84533 years from the end of the calendar year in which return is filed
New YorkTR-579-IT3 years
Oklahoma511EF3 years
OregonOR-EF3 years from the date due or date filed, whichever is later
PennsylvaniaPA-84533 years
South CarolinaSC84533 years
Vermont8879-VTMinimum of 3 years
VirginiaVA-8879; VA-8879-SP3 years from the date due or date filed, whichever is later
West VirginiaWV-8453Not less than 3 years

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