The IRS has tax rules regarding the signature lines on your income tax return. Be sure to follow them properly, since you do not want a delay in receiving your refund. Delays in processing your tax return occur when the IRS gets a hold of your tax return and sees no signature on the signature line. This happens thousands of time every tax year. Do not let it happen to you. Here are the IRS rules regarding tax filing signatures: If you prepare your own paper income tax return, you can sign and date it yourself. This is applies to both the paper copy tax filing and the electronic filing of your tax return. Your signature must be in ink. That way, it cannot be erased. This is important for legal reasons.
If you file your 2006 income tax return electronically, you can sign it using an electronic signature. This involves obtaining a PIN (personal identification number). If you file jointly, both you and your spouse will need to obtain a PIN. If you take your tax return to a tax preparer and have them file it with the IRS (file electronically), they can assign you a PIN. Either way, you will need to obtain a PIN to file your income tax return electronically (e-file). Electronic filing of your income tax return is explained in more detail on the IRS website. Or, you can ask a tax professional.
If you file a joint income tax return (paper or electronic), both you and your spouse need to sign the return - generally. However, there are exceptions (exceptions in the IRS rules? Never).
If your spouse died during the tax year, before being able to sign your joint income tax return, the administrator or executor must sign the return.If there is no appointed administrator or executor, you may sign the joint tax return for your spouse. On your spouse’s signature line, you will need to write in “filing as surviving spouse”.If you are the guardian of your spouse, you can sign for your spouse. Your spouse must be declared mentally incompetent for you to sign as their legal guardian.If your spouse is in a combat zone, you can sign for your spouse. This applies even though you may not have their power of attorney privileges. You simply need to attach a written statement explaining that your spouse is serving in a combat zone. Be sure to include this statement when filing your 2006 joint income tax return. If your spouse has any injury or disease that prevents him or her from signing your joint income tax return, you can sign it for them. Simply sign your spouse’s name and follow it by writing “By (your name) as Husband (or Wife).” When you do this, be sure to include (attach) a signed and dated statement by you with your joint income tax return. You need to explain to the IRS why your spouse cannot sign the return. This written statement should also contain the tax form number and the tax year. Even though you are filing this statement with your 2006 tax return, the IRS still needs all this written in a statement. Be sure to attach your statement to your tax return when filing. If your situation is not covered by any of the above-mentioned ones, you can file for your spouse on your joint income tax return only if you have the legal power of attorney to do so. You also need to attach this legal document to your tax return when filing. IRS Form 2848 (Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative) may be of use to you. If you pay anyone to prepare your income tax return, they must sign it. There is a special ‘Paid Preparer’s’ line for them. They can sign using a rubber stamp, computer software program, or manually.
If someone else prepares your income tax return, but you do not pay him or her, they do not need to sign your return anywhere.
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|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|