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T183 - electronic signatures?


#1

Does anyone on the forum know if CRA accepts electronic signatures these days? Or are they still insisting on paper? I’m thinking something along the lines of DocuSign or Adobe Sign?


#2

Officially, they don’t.

But, I know that they have accepted if the signature looks realistic enough. (Not that I have ever tried. :grin: )

BUT, don’t try to pass an electronic signature on an MR-69 to Revenu Quebec.


#3

CRA still insists on paper. I cannot find a similar resource for the T183, but the 2016 FAQ for the T1013 makes this clear in two ways:

  1. That you will make sure that the taxpayer has completed and physically signed a Form T1013

  2. Does the Canada Revenue Agency accept digital and electronic signatures on Form T1013? No. For now, we are not accepting these types of signatures on Form T1013.

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/esrvc-srvce/tx/prprrs/t1013-eng.html

Can anyone find a source that would be specific to the T183 form?


#4

Your responsibilities as an e-filer include dealing with your clients “in person”.
This link says in the note that “signature labels or stamps” are not acceptable. At the current time, an e-signature is considered a stamp.
Granted, most of us have a few long distance clients, but that is solved by PDF’ing the T1013, RC59 or T183 and sending it to them where they print and sign and then scan it back to you.

I heard they are considering introducing e-signatures, but nothing solid yet.


#5

A signature file is considered a stamp; however, is a document signed using an e_pen considered a stamp? My opinion is that it is not! Hope that I am correct.

Regards,

John Harris Lake,BAS

JHL MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS

o/b 1369342 Ontario Inc.


#6

I have had T1013 for estates denied because they were signed electronically.

Kicker is that we use state of the art digital signature software. If we simply had omitted to include the second “certificate” page that our software produce, CRA would likely been unable to identify the actual signature on the T1013 as digital.


#7

Here is another kicker…

The CRA staff (not the assigned Justice Department Lawyers) use electronic signatures on the letters and on the court papers submitted to the tax court.


#8

CRA is still a long way behind the IRS on online services and e-signatures.

On the Canadian side…

In general we tend to be more cautious, conservation, and slower to adopt new technologies when dealing with the public.

The current government seems to be proud of the fact Canadian government is seen as a Global leader in Cyber Security. So online services and paperless processes are slower in implementation.

Esignatures need time to be tested and worked through the Canadian courts.

The CRA registered tax preparer program has been abandoned by the current government so their are fewer controls built into the eFiler Program.

On the part of the USA IRS…

Advanced adoption of online and paperless processes seems to be due to the built-in controls of the Enrolled Agent program and the IRS Tax Resolution features and functions, as well as the sheer volume and complexity of the various levels of taxation at the Federal, State, Municipality, and Occupation levels.

https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/enrolled-agents.


#9

Several issues with signatures:

Don’t forget that this is the first year that CRA doesn’t require TWO signatures on the T183. Baby steps, folks…

Quality: CRA says scanned versions are acceptable as long as they meet the (incredibly arcane) CGSB 72.34 standards. Don’t try reading the document, because it never says something like “200 dpi is fine” anywhere…

Reality: jpg photos sent by clients, PDFs, pencil-signed ones…they really don’t seem to care as long as you have “something”. At least so far. AS long as it looks like a scrawl - and they really have nothing to match against, they seem to be OK with it. Why they don’t just contact the client OTOH, is beyond me.

Most of my clients are remote - both personal and corporate so virtually ALL my RC59s, T1013s, T183s (both versions) are remotely signed, scanned or photo’d and sent back to me. So far I’ve never had a problem with anything being “not acceptable”. So far.


#10

Thanks for the reference.

http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2017/ongc-cgsb/P29-072-034-2017-eng.pdf

ABOUT - CGSB 72.34 standards.

https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/ongc-cgsb/programme-program/normes-standards/can-cgsb-72-34-eng.html

New Edition of CAN/CGSB-72.34-2017—Electronic Records as Documentary Evidence is now available.


#11

As a US tax preparer, I assert that the IRS is waaayyyy behind the CRA in electronic services.


#12

Sad and somewhat shocking post by one of the drafters of the the CGSB 72.34 standards.

http://www.slaw.ca/2017/02/02/evidence-based-upon-national-standards-might-thereby-be-unreliable/

Evidence Based Upon National Standards Might Thereby Be Unreliable
by Ken Chasse
More posts by Ken »

I’ve endured a very worrisome and incompetent drafting of an intended second edition of this National Standard of Canada (an NSC): Electronic Records as Documentary Evidence CAN/CGSB-72.34-2005 (“72.34,” developed by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB)). Its intended purpose is, to be Canada’s most authoritative standard as to the proper operation and maintenance of electronic records management systems (ERMSs). Therefore it can be used to test the “integrity” that provisions such as, s. 31.2(1)(a) of the Canada Evidence Act (CEA), and s. 34.1(5),(5.1) of the Ontario Evidence Act (OEA), require of ERMSs, for the purpose of determining the admissibility of electronic records as evidence; e.g., R. v. Oler, 2014 ABPC 130.[i] Records are the most frequently used kind of evidence. CGSB’s conduct caused me, along with another lawyer specialized in the area of law essential to the project, (a senior lawyer from a large corporate-commercial law firm), to resign from the drafting committee and its working group.

I complained at length to the Standards Council of Canada, providing great detail in more than 160 pages of evidence and commentary. But the Council has refused to take any action against the Standards Development Organization (the SDO) accountable for those very faulty procedures used. The SDO is the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB). But for my complaint, they could have succeeded in defrauding the Council itself into declaring that inferior draft to be an NSC. There was very strong evidence that, that was their intention in order to fulfill a time-limited agreement with a government department.

Therefore, if no further action is taken, I will have made matters worse by complaining. All SDO’s will know from this occurrence that they can proceed as they wish, inter alia, accepting funding from, and granting supervisory authority and drafting choices to whomever they wish, without fear of discipline by the Council. And given that CGSB’s wide jurisdiction for developing NSCs includes the development of electronic information technology, important legislation dependent upon the NSCs it will develop will be rendered useless, if not declared void.

Much legislation, federal, provincial and territorial, is dependent upon NSCs.

The Standard Council’s 2014-2015 Annual Report, entitled, Strengthening, Leading, Delivering Value to Canada, states (at pages 5 and 28):

“There are approximately 5,000 references to standards in Canadian (including federal, provincial and territorial) regulations, which shows the major impact that standards have on our daily lives.”

In order for an expert in ERMS technology to certify compliance of an institution’s ERMS with the following two NSCs, 265 tests have to be applied: (1) Electronic Records as Documentary Evidence CAN/CGSB-72.34-2005 (referred to as, “72.34,” requires the application of 208 tests); and, (2) Microfilm and Electronic Images as Documentary Evidence CAN/CGSB-72.11-93 (“72.11” requires 57 tests). They incorporate by reference several international standards of the ISO (International Organization for Standardization in Geneva, Switzerland).[iii] NSCs are developed by SDOs accredited by the Standards Council. Draft standards are then submitted to the Council for its approval and its public declaration as NSCs, and then commercially published by the SDOs, in this case, CGSB. These standards are written by Technical Committees composed of experts from the records and information management field, including lawyers. They can be obtained from CGSB’s “Purchase Standards” webpage.

Since 1978, I have acted as a legal advisor in relation to drafting and updating these NSCs. And since 1988, I have worked with ERMS experts servicing institutional clients of many kinds. All such projects involve certification of compliance with 72.34 and 72.11. My part is to write legal opinions as to the ability of clients’ ERMSs to satisfy the legal requirements of, discovery and admissibility proceedings, and of various statutes for electronic records, and those of 72.34 as well. A much larger project would be, for example, to meld two large, complex ERMSs into one, as might be made necessary by a merger or acquisition between organizations.

The improper procedures were prompted by an agreement entered into by CGSB with the federal Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat in 2013. In exchange for Treasury Board’s funding, CGSB agreed to sponsor the development of a second edition of 72.34 within 18 months from December 2013.

All procedures were imposed by CGSB instead of being determined by the Committee itself. CGSB violated the three foundation principles required by the Council’s procedures and practices, which are based upon the process of “voluntary standardization” established by the Standards Council of Canada Act. They are: (1) NSCs are to be developed independently from government; (2) to serve the public interest (not government interest); and, (3) developed as the product of “a consensus of all interested parties,” being the experts needed to draft each NSC. Such experts make up the Technical Committees convened by CGSB.

Having been a member of the Technical Committee that drafted the existing first edition of 72.34 more than ten years earlier, I knew there was no need to use a working group to so minimize the participation of the full Committee. CGSB left us alone to determine all procedures and the timetable.


By June, 2015, it was clear to me that CGSB intended to put out for its mandatory public review stage, a draft standard that had been very improperly created and contained misstatements of law due to the re-writing of the legal section because of CGSB’s declared “right of last edit,” i.e., editing without providing an opportunity for the lawyer-drafters of the legal section to review the results of such “last edit.” We lawyers were alleged to have been guilty of “redundancy” in the legal section when compared with the Introduction. And our wordings were changed, and the order of what paragraphs were left was altered.[iv] I could not allow myself to be connected to such intended public misrepresentations. Therefore I resigned from the project, as did the other lawyer-member of the Working Group specialized in the use of electronic records as evidence. That being only one of several reasons for our resignations.

Such a public review is a public declaration that: (1) the text is the product of a proper procedure; and, (2) contains no known errors. CGSB knew that it was misrepresenting both. All steps after such public review would be void.

CGSB should have lost its accreditation as an SDO, and the 72.34(2d) project started again. Clearly, a much more competent and professional standards-development process is needed immediately.


Therefore, “voluntary” standardization is no longer an adequate process for creating such important national standards, and in Canada it may frequently lack competence.


#13

Hi Bert,
Good to know. I am going by second hand info:

  1. Citrix ShareFile with Right Signature training
  2. Online workflow training with eSignatures.
  3. IRS tax resolution discovery for workflow and document checklist training.

Clearly all is not how it seems.


#14

@BertMulderCGA

From your profile and your posts it appears that you have been paperless for some time. Which cloud apps do you use for your client portal and-or client document management system?

Citrix ShareFile?

Anything else?


#15

We have Adobe Pro DC and use it for electronic signature. I like RightSignature from Citrix enough, but it only allowed documents to be emailed for signature. Adobe allows us to also use tablet in the office to electronically sign documents… we use that more on the corporate side for financial statements and such.


#16

for client portal I use e-courier.

For file management, besides Doxcycle, I use the windows filing system.

KISS


#17

@BertMulderCGA

Thank-you for your reply.

Yes, KISS is a great principle.


#18

Signed using an e-pen is fine since a human has to wield the pen


#19

Hi Patrick,

Thanks for your contribution to the forum.

CRA has given notice that “Electronic filers can now keep a scanned version of the original T183 form signed by the taxpayer”

So, I understand this as the T183 still needs to be physically signed by the taxpayer but it can be digitally archived by the tax preparer.

Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-businesses/efile-electronic-filers.html