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Incorporating e-file Into Your Office

Signature Process

With e-file, you and your clients must sign one of the following California e-file return authorization forms, a stand-alone payment authorization form (if applicable) listed below, or use the Self-Select PIN Method.

The following authorization forms are available:

  • *Not all software support stand-alone Electronic Funds Withdrawal (EFW) for extension and estimate payments. Check with your software provider for more information.


  • Unless your client uses the Self-Select PIN Method (individual taxpayers only), you and your client are required to sign the applicable authorization form after the return has been prepared, reviewed, and before the return is e-filed.
  • You and your client must keep the authorization form for four years after the due date of the return or four years from the date the return is e-filed, whichever is later.

Suggestions From Successful e-filers:

  • When you mail completed returns to your clients, mail them:
    • The completed return, either in electronic format, or paper.
    • The authorization forms.
    • A self-addressed stamped envelope.
    • A bill for your preparation fees.
    • Instructions to return payment for your fees along with the signed authorization forms.
    • Instructions for payment options for payment of state tax, if applicable.
    • A message that you will e-file their return or stand-alone EFW payment request only when you receive both their payment for preparation and their completed authorization forms.
  • Set up a client log to keep track of when you send the package to your client and when you receive the signed authorization forms. A client log can help track the entire return process.
  • When you complete the return while your client is in your office:
    • Have them sign the authorization forms or use the Self-Select PIN Method (individual taxpayers only).
    • Have them pay your fees.
    • Transmit the return (after they leave or while they are in the office, depending on how you want to schedule your e-file transmissions).
    • Retrieve the ACK.
    • Provide your client with proof of acceptance (FAX or email is acceptable).
  • Store the signed authorization documents in one of the following formats:
    • In your computer, by scanning the document and saving as a Portable Document Format (.pdf) or image file
    • On CD or portable USB/flash drive
    • By paper, keeping a copy in your client files.


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Last Updated: 12/18/2017

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