About Electronic Signatures

You can offer clients the ability to sign their engagement letters and tax return Form 8879s electronically using Client Collaboration. Your Client Collaboration license includes access to CCH® eSign functionality which makes this possible.

Firm-level eSign options must be set up for both Tax and Client Collaboration before you can offer this service. This one-time task must be performed by a user with CCH Axcess administrator privileges. See Setting up CCH eSign Accounts and Users and eSign Templates in the Tax Help for more information.

In addition, there are specific setup requirements for each document that the client can sign, as explained below.

Engagement Letter Signatures

Engagement letter templates must include the Signature keyword in the signature block paragraph. When clients view the letter, this keyword is replaced with a text box where the client can enter an electronic signature.

  • The engagement letter templates provided by Client Collaboration include this keyword by default. If you use these templates, no additional steps are required to extend electronic signatures capabilities to your clients.
  • If you create your own templates, add the Signature keyword in the signature block paragraph for the letter.

Tip: The paragraph template named Signature Block that is provided in Client Collaboration already includes the necessary keyword.

See Using Keywords for instructions on adding keywords to paragraph templates. See Managing Letter Templates for information about adding paragraphs to letters.

Form 8879 and Tax Return Signatures

eSign must be enabled in either the return configuration set for your returns or in individual returns.

See Sending a Tax Return for Electronic Review and Signing for instructions on sending a return for eSign through Client Collaboration.

Tracking Signatures

Progress indicators in the Engagement Letter Signed and Form 8879 columns on the requests list allow you to see whether all the required parties have signed these documents. For documents that require two signatures, a partially completed circle indicates that one signature has been received, but not the other. A check mark displays if all required signatures have been received.

Tip: The Awaiting Return Signature and Return Signature Received status views allow you to see at a glance which returns have been sent for signatures. Click the link for these views on the Requests dashboard to see all returns in the selected status. You can also access these views from other request status views by selecting them from the Request Status filter list that displays above request lists.

Note: By default, a date and time stamp are recorded when the customer completes the eSign process. This date is visible to the client in the client hub, as well as in the Activity Details section of the Requests dashboard.