Why is it so important to get Form 8879 back to your tax preparer? If you have used a CPA firm or other tax preparer to file your taxes in the past decade, you’ve been required to complete a form authorizing the preparer to electronically submit your return on your behalf. Failing to submit that form can hold up your return and even cause you to miss a filing deadline.
What is Form 8879?
Form 8879 is the declaration document and signature authorization for an e-filed return filed by an electronic return originator (ERO), also known as your tax preparer. The form must be provided by the ERO (along with a copy of the return) to the client and is part of the disclosure you sign allowing your preparer to file your return. Form 8879 states that the taxpayer has reviewed the tax return before signing the form. Your tax preparer is required to keep a copy of this form on file for all returns he or she files; the IRS can request it at any time up to three years after the return is filed.
Why can’t I provide the form when sending my CPA my tax documents?
Form 8879 must be signed and returned after you, the taxpayer, have reviewed a copy of your return. It cannot be completed ahead of time. As a tax preparer, we are not able to submit your tax return on your behalf until we have received the signed form. The form must be signed and dated by the taxpayer—the IRS does not consider verbal, email, or any other form of consent to file to be sufficient. Further, your tax preparer must submit your tax return within three days of receiving the signed Form 8879.
Not only is it important to return Form 8879 in a timely manner, but you must also provide all other documents needed to complete the tax return. By responding to all requests from your tax preparer in a timely manner, you help us to complete your return with enough time to meet deadlines. Signing Form 8879 once you’re satisfied with our work on your return is just as critical as any other step in the process of tax preparation.
My tax preparer didn’t ask me to complete Form 8879
It’s worth noting that a tax preparer who doesn’t ask you to complete Form 8879 and instead suggests you file the return yourself should raise all sorts of red flags. Preparing a return and not completing the filing process is a common practice of ghost preparers. If you’ve used the services of a tax preparer who didn’t sign your return or asked you to take care of the final filing, you can use Form 14157 to report your concerns to the IRS. The IRS also maintains a public database of all Federal Tax Return Preparers, which is a helpful tool for vetting the credentials of any tax professional offering tax preparation services.
As a long-standing Jacksonville CPA firm, we’re pleased to provide comprehensive tax and financial planning services. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding providing proper documentation or required forms.