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E-Signatures - MFJ with only 1 email address

Level 4

We are looking to use E-Signatures this tax season.

I have a number of MFJ clients with only a single email address.  Some are "Family" emails, others the only ones on file, some may be work addresses.

I am unclear how or if Docusign can handle these clients. As the Docusign UserID is an email, I expect the account will only represent one of the two clients.

Similarly, for tax paying dependents for which Mom or Dad is the person doing their taxes, I assume I will have a similar but different issue. Currently the email for these dependents is the parent (so we know who to call).

I am looking to for any info on how to populate and manage data elements to best support E_Signatures.

Between the 2 of these, this is about 25% of our clients.

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5 Replies 5

I don't remember the exact details, but I didn't have any trouble getting DocuSign e-signatures through Lacerte for clients with shared email addresses back in October.

I don't know how minor children are handled. 

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Level 1

We had no problem using E-Signature last tax season for returns where a married couple share an email.  Two emails went out to the same email address, one for each spouse.  As long as they answer their authentication questions everything was smooth.

We did run into problems with returns for minors.  They don't have enough credit history to populate any knowledge based authentication questions so every single one of the ones we tried failed authentication.  Have not come up with a solution for this situation.

Level 4

@PhoebeRoberts @SJCPA650 

Thanks for your feedback.  I did not see the Authentication for minors coming, but that's a good thing to think about. 

So what happens if they fail authentication?  Does the document go to a fail state and then you have to void the Envelope and do paper?  Do you get a credit for the Envelope?

I spent an hour on the phone yesterday with Docusign support on the particular scenario. We did some basic testing and it appears that if:

1 - The Email does NOT have a Docusign account that one can send to both the TaxPayer and Spouse and Docusign will be able to cleanly manage both signatures. The user should NOT, prior to Finishing, accept the offer to save the document in an account, but may print using the button in the upper right corner.

2 - The Email does have a Docusign account, then both Emails for signature will include text related to the name for which the user account is configured. In this case, the documents may still be signed, however the user who is NOT the account holder will need to select the Adopt New link in the My Signatures and Initials dialog box and then should be able to select or add their signature. The follow-up confirmation emails with the signed document will also both refer to the account holder.

It's important to be clear that as Lacerte has stopped processing E-Signatures against 2019 (my test data) and that we tested from within the Docusign portal. We did NOT use authentication, so there may be other processing issues not seen. however I expect that the Lacerte processing would be no better, maybe worse than this.

I have dumb user fear that they will have issues, not be able to figure out the signatures correctly and then call the office for help.  Not sure I want to risk that this season as we are introducing a lot of new processes and have less staff.  Paper might be easier.

Just emailed packages today so I got numbers.  About 30% are in the 1 email group and another 10% in the dependent\child\minor group. 

Any comments on using E-Signature with other Tax Types?

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Truly I don't know what happens when a client can't authenticate. My educated guess would be that it just hangs out there until expiration. I have no opinion as to whether Intuit would refund for the expired request.

From an e-filing / Lacerte perspective, sending the e-signature request doesn't change anything about the e-file process. So if a client has issues, you can always mail / fax / securely transmit a PDF the 8879 for them to paper sign and return. Converting the return to paper would be a last resort possibility.

Even my least-savvy clients reported no difficulty with the e-signature requirement, whether there were emails to multiple addresses or just to one. 

Level 1

I had a couple of instances where the client failed authentication.  I just voided the request and resent it.  Did not encounter any issues with that.  If they failed and did not want to attempt again, we just went the paper route.  Last year was our first year using the E-signature function, and we really didn't run into too many problems.

We only used E-Signature for individuals, so I can't speak on the other tax types.

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