When a taxpayer efiles his or her tax return, he or she (or a married couple if it’s a joint return) sign Form 8879. There was a change to Form 8879 for 2013 that tax professionals need to be aware of. Here’s instruction 6 of ERO (Electronic Return Originator) responsibilities:

6. Enter the 20-digit Submission Identification Number (SID) assigned to the tax return, or associate Form 9325, Acknowledgement and General Information for Taxpayers Who File Returns Electronically, with Form 8879 after filing. [emphasis added]

In the past, the taxpayer signs the 8879, the tax professional signs it and files it away. Now, the taxpayer signs it, the tax professional signs it, and the return is filed. Once the IRS accepts the return, the software company will assign the Submission Identification Number (SID) to the return. The tax professional must either print another copy of the Form 8879 (this one would have the SID on it) and attach it to the Form 8879, print a copy of Form 9325 (Acknowledgement and General Information for Taxpayers Who File Returns Electronically), or the tax professional must write the SID on the original 8879.

This isn’t a big deal, but tax professionals need to be aware that there’s an additional step you must go through after the return is efiled. For tax professional like me that keep scanned copies of originals, there’s another document that will have to be scanned. This adds a small amount of time to each tax return. It doesn’t seem like much, but that extra minute for every tax return probably equates to an additional 500 minutes of time if you efile 500 returns in a tax season.

Do note that this new procedure appears to only apply to federal individual returns (Form 1040). The Form 8879-C (signature document for corporate returns, Form 1120), Form 8879-S (signature Document for S-Corporation returns, Form 1120S), and Form 8879-F (signature document for fiduciary returns, Form 1041) do not have SIDs. I also looked at California signature documents and did not see any reference to SIDs.