Client communication tool Sqrl has released an add-on called 88seventysign that uses electronic signatures to complete 8878 and 8879 tax forms in the US.
The move is a radical step for Sqrl which accountants typically use to request information from clients using automated follow-up emails. Firms had requested the ability to use e-signatures within the service, CMO Craig Baldwin said in a press release.
“Last year 86% of all returns were e-filed, and over 70 million of those were submitted by tax return preparers, all requiring 8879s,” Baldwin said.
“When you’re an individual tasked with preparing hundreds of returns, even 15 minutes of saved workflow time on each return can be massive,” he added.
In March the US taxation agency, the Internal Revenue Service, began accepting electronic signatures made by software that could verify the identity of the signer. Thomson Reuters, CCH and Intuit have already released their own competing e-signature services but none are part of a communications platform, Baldwin said.
Sqrl includes a dashboard showing the number of requests made to clients and their status, automated reminders to clients to send in the required information, and team collaboration features.
The service costs US$4 per executed signature, plus US$2 for a spouse and US$1 for state forms.
88seventysign will also be available for other types of signatures such as engagement and management rep letters and powers of attorney. The service will go live on 1 February.