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Authentication methods for eSignature

by Intuit Updated 1 year ago

This article will help you:

  • understand how the different eSignature authentication methods work,
  • learn why knowledge-based authentication may be required, and
  • decide which method to use when you send an eSignature request.

Knowledge-based authentication

Knowledge-based authentication (KBA) is the most secure authentication method. When you send an eSignature request with KBA, your client has to answer a series of questions about themselves based on publicly available data to verify their identity.

When is knowledge-based authentication required?

Knowledge-based authentication is required when your program automatically attaches a signature form to the eSignature request, like Form 8879, 8878, or a state equivalent. When you send a request with one of these documents, the authentication method will default to KBA and cannot be changed. See the IRS guidance for details.

Access code authentication

Access code authentication allows you to enter a private code when sending the eSignature request. Next, you'll need to communicate the code to your client via phone, email, text message, or verbally — however you like. Your client will be prompted to enter the access code in order to view and sign the documents you sent.

This option will not be available if knowledge-based authentication is required for your request, or if your tax program doesn't support it.

In-person signing

In-person signing is now available for Lacerte. If you're going to meet with your client in person, you can use this to simplify the signature process by creating the eSignature and having your client sign it on the same computer.

On married filing joint (MFJ) returns, you can use in-person signing for both recipients, or have one recipient sign in-person and the other sign remotely using a traditional eSignature.

No authentication

When you send an eSignature request with no authentication, whoever receives the request email will be able to view the documents without additional verification. Don't use this option if any of the documents you're sending contain personally identifiable information.

This option will not be available if knowledge-based authentication is required for your request.

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