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Retention rules vary for state e-file signature authorization forms

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How long should tax professionals hold onto the e-file signature authorizations of their clients? It depends on where they and their clients reside.

Form 8879, "IRS e-file Signature Authorization," is signed by 1040 taxpayers to, among other things, authorize the electronic return originator to electronically file the taxpayer’s federal tax return. EROs must retain the signed copy of the Form 8879 for three years from the return due date or date the return is filed, whichever comes later. Most states that accept electronic filing of individual tax returns have their own version of an e-file signature authorization form that serves the same purpose as the federal form.

Most states require retention of the state e-file authorization form for three years, like the federal retention period. However, for some states that three-year period is defined differently than the federal three-year retention period. For example, Indiana’s IT-8879 must be retained three years from Dec. 31 of the year it is signed, while Louisiana’s LA8453 must be retained three years from Dec. 31 of the year the return is due. The District of Colombia’s D-40E SUB and New Mexico’s PIT-8453 must be retained three years from the calendar year in which the return is filed.

The retention periods for the Arizona, California, Colorado and Michigan forms are outliers: The retention periods for the California CA8453, Colorado’s CO DR8453 and Arizona’s AZ-8879 are different formulations of a four-year period; and the Michigan MI-8453 must be retained for six years.

The Missouri Department of Revenue requires that the MO-8453 be retained by the ERO but does not set a minimum retention period.

Because electronic filing of the individual tax return for most states is mandatory for tax professionals, it is important for the tax professional to know the e-file signature authorization form retention rules imposed by the various states. Below is a chart that lists those retention rules.

State
Form
Retention period
Alabama
AL8453
3 years from the date due or date filed, whichever is later
Arizona
AZ-8879
Minimum of 4 years
Arkansas
AR8453
3 years from the date due or the received date, whichever is later
California
CA8453
4 years from the date due or date filed, whichever is later
Colorado
CO DR 8453
4 years from the date due
Delaware
DE-8453
3 years from the latest date the return could have been timely filed
District of Columbia
D-40E SUB
3 years from the end of the calendar year in which return is filed
Georgia
GA-8453
3 years from end of the year the return is filed
Illinois
IL-8453
3 years
Indiana
IT-8879
3 years from Dec. 31 of the year signed and transmitted
Iowa
IA 8453-IND
3 years from the date due or date filed, whichever is later
Kentucky
8879-K
3 years
Louisiana
LA 8453
3 years from Dec. 31 of the year the return is due
Maryland
EL101
3 years from the return due date
Massachusetts
M-8453
3 years from the date the return was filed
Michigan
MI-8453
6 years
Mississippi
MS8453-IIT
3 years from the date due or date filed, whichever is later
Missouri
MO-8453
MO-8453 must be retained by the ERO. No minimum period required
New Jersey
NJ-8879
3 years from the return due date
New Mexico
PIT-8453
3 years from the end of the calendar year in which return is filed
New York
TR-579-IT
3 years
Oklahoma
511EF
3 years
Oregon
OR-EF
3 years from the date due or date filed, whichever is later
Pennsylvania
PA-8453
3 years
South Carolina
SC8453
3 years
Vermont
8879-VT
Minimum of 3 years
Virginia
VA-8879; VA-8879-SP
3 years from the date due or date filed, whichever is later
West Virginia
WV-8453
Not less than 3 years
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