From everything we can find, CRA’s administrative policy for e-signatures seems to be limited to T183s for individuals, corps and trusts, T2200, and T2200s.
We have seen nothing that allows e-signatures on things like T1032, T1255, T2091, T1135 any of the non-resident forms etc.
We are beginning to question the value of subscriptions to e-signature software if we can’t get all of the forms signed electronically.
What are others doing? Sticking to the official policy or getting things signed electronically and hoping for the best?
(We have already had some NR forms rejected by CRA because of electronic signatures, so we are wary.)
I get pen signatures on everything but scanned back to me electronically. If I can’t import it into my adobe working paper files with a signature that shows up if I print it out (if the CRA wants to see them they always want me to mail them paper copies) then I don’t take it. I have had very few request to use electronic signatures that don’t meet this criteria. I don’t subscribe to any e-signature software as I can’t afford them. I don’t have a large enough client base that would actually use it to make it worthwhile.
Like Laurie - I send out the forms, they print, sign, scan back to me all via SharePoint. Easy for me, easy for them (as long as they can print!). Secure and wet-signed.
What about signing on touch screen devices? For a while, I had been getting signatures directly on surface pro using stylus pen.
When everything changed to remote, I changed to digital signature, but difficult for some people, so I actually asked them get OneDrive, google drive on their phone, and get them to open it and sign it on their phone, without having to print. I tried sharing the file, so I can get an instant copy, but not always work
We finally managed to get a definitive answer from CRA on the eligibility of various forms for e-signature.
The answer we got from the e-file help desk was that they will accept electronic signatures on any form that we electronically file.
Based on that, electronic signatures are okay for forms like T1032, T1255, T2091, T1135, but still not okay for any of the NR forms that can’t be e-filed. My understanding of the explanation from the help desk is that if you end up having to paper file any form, electronic signatures will not be acceptable even if the form would otherwise be eligible for for electronic signatures.
The representative noted that this information is not published anywhere for tax preparers or the public. It is their internal policy.
Oh…how lovely for CRA to “not share” its internal policy on such an important subject with…the people who have to do the work. This is like being back in the 1970s. The management of CRA stinks badly, and has gotten worse over the past decade or two. Their refusal to see practitioners in a light that saves them money (and we can!) is indefensible. Their inability to raise assessments on global tax cheats is glaring.
And they don’t seem to care at all…just go on collecting their hundreds of thousands a year in salary and perks, fancy pensions and all. Amazing.
I get electronic signatures for everything except for NR forms (but I only have one non-resident client). I use Verifyle for file sharing and signatures and I download and save the separate “signing audit” for each signature that shows the IP address, date, time, and email it was signed from. Unless I physically witness the manual signing of forms, I feel this is just as secure as wet signatures. And many of my clients don’t have decent scanners so they would just end up taking a photo of the document and sending it back to me. If we can purchase real estate with electronic signatures, we should be able to file our taxes that way too!
The whole issue of signatures - electronic, wet, or otherwise seems a complete piece of fussiness on the part of CRA. There are (literally) hundreds of cases where taxpayers refused to or didn’t sign paper returns prepared by their various accountants, preparers etc. I can’t recall reading a single case where the judge didn’t accept that the taxpayer was fully aware of the return that was filed.
The ITA has always “required” a signature, but, as above, judges have generally accepted that taxpayers are responsible for the return filed on their behalf, paper or otherwise, signed or not.
Not too clear exactly WHY the folks at CRA are so worked up over this.
Good to know! Thanks for the info!
I use an e-signature service which does not make a definitive “e-signature” box around the signature, produces the signature in blue ink, plus insist that the client use their finger to draw the signature. I also print and scan in the signatures. This results in a document which is indistinguishable from a pen signature.
I have not had an issue with the CRA accepting the document, even with NR forms.
So what is that you use? Is it expensive like so many other applications? Thanks!
Sounds like a good process but is it really necessary? CRA says they will accept e-signature, at least on certain forms. Are they rejecting the typed kind? I haven’t seen any guidance specifying this.
I started using e-Courier’s e-signature solution for this tax year (cost = $200). Their system is very different because it DOES NOT alter the original documents in any shape or form. The signature is a typed signature and printed on a separate document that contains all the other security related information, including IP addresses, time stamps, etc.
I phoned the e-file help desk for their opinion on this before I started using it. The response was very positive, affirming that as long as the signature (typed or handwritten) was received by a software company specializing in e‑signatures, and that the date / timestamp, and IP Address were recorded, it would be accepted. This agent only had reference to what was accepted for the 2020 tax year as he had no new information was available for the upcoming tax year.
E-Courier has been working excellent for me as well, and the integration with Taxcycle makes it even better.
I like the way that e-Courier processes two signatures, applying both of them on the same document, complete with time stamps for each of them. I’ve been reluctant to use this feature but after reading in this thread that CRA will accept signatures for other documents, I used it on the T1032 and the process was seamless.