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California e-file e-Signature Options for Individual e-file

We accept electronic signatures for Individual e-filed returns. We offer the same PIN methods available from the IRS: the Self-Select PIN method, the Practitioner PIN method and the ERO PIN. All signature methods, including pen-on-paper using form FTB 8453, will be accepted for all California e-file return types (Forms 540, 540 2EZ, and 540NR Long and Short) throughout the duration of the e-file season.

  Signature forms
Signature responsibilities chart
e-signature frequently asked questions

Signature Responsibilities Chart

The following chart shows the taxpayer's and ERO's responsibilities when using each of the signature options.

  Practitioner PIN Self-Select PIN Form FTB 8453
Taxpayer must:
  • Review and sign form FTB 8879
  • Enter his or her PIN on your computer
  • Provide his or her shared secret (prior-year California AGI)
  • Review, sign & retain form FTB 8453
ERO must:
  • Review, sign & retain form FTB 8879
  • Enter your client's PIN as shown on form FTB 8879
  • Enter your ERO PIN
  • Allow the taxpayer access to your computer
  • Enter your ERO PIN
  • Review, sign & retain form FTB 8453
Notes Shared secret (prior year California AGI) is generally not required. No paper forms required. No shared secret or form FTB 8879 required.

e-signature - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the California e-file Signature Authorization for Individuals (form FTB 8879)?
  2. Do I need to use form FTB 8879 for every return I e-file?
  3. When does the taxpayer sign form FTB 8879?
  4. Can the taxpayer give me their PIN verbally?
  5. Can my client fax me the signed form FTB 8879?
  6. Am I required to give my clients a copy of form FTB 8879?
  7. Do I have to store a paper copy of form FTB 8879?
  8. Is the shared secret required when using form FTB 8879?
  9. What shared secret will taxpayers need to enter?
  10. If the taxpayer uses the Self-Select PIN option, am I also required to use a PIN?
  11. Will I get more rejects if my clients use the e-signature options?
  12. How are the California e-signature options different from the IRS options?
  1. What is the California e-file Signature Authorization for Individuals (form FTB 8879)?
    This form allows you to enter your client's PIN without the need for your client to be present. Your client signs this form after reviewing his or her return and you can then enter your client's PIN as the signature for the tax return. This form can also be used when the shared secret is not known or is unavailable. This form is very similar to the IRS form 8879.
  2. Do I need to use form FTB 8879 for every return I e-file?
    No. Use form FTB 8879 when your client (or your client's spouse) is unavailable to personally enter the PIN or when the shared secret is not known or is unavailable.
  3. When does the taxpayer sign form FTB 8879?
    Form FTB 8879 must be signed after the return is prepared, but before it is e-filed. Your client must have the opportunity to review his or her return and sign form FTB 8879 before you send the return to the FTB.
  4. Can the taxpayer give me their PIN verbally?
    No. Taxpayers must either personally enter their PIN on your computer or complete form FTB 8879 to authorize you to enter their PIN for them.
  5. Can my client fax me the signed form FTB 8879?
    Yes.
  6. Am I required to give my clients a copy of form FTB 8879?
    No. You are required to keep a copy of form FTB 8879 for four years. However, you must provide a copy to your clients upon request.
  7. Do I have to store a paper copy of form FTB 8879?
    No. You can also scan and store the signed FTB 8879 electronically.
  8. Is the shared secret required when using form FTB 8879?
    No. As with the IRS, the shared secret is only required when the taxpayer enters his or her own self-select PIN. (Exception: If, on a joint return, one taxpayer chooses to enter his or her own PIN and the other authorizes you to enter a PIN for him or her, the first taxpayer must also enter the shared secret.)
  9. What shared secret will taxpayers need to enter?
    The California AGI from his or her previous year tax return.
  10. If the taxpayer uses the Self-Select PIN option, am I also required to use a PIN?
    Yes. The ERO PIN process must be used for professionally prepared returns if the taxpayer elects to use any electronic signature option.
  11. Will I get more rejects if my clients use the e-signature options?
    Possibly. When the taxpayer uses the Self-Select PIN option, we will validate the shared secret (California's prior year AGI). If the secret does not match our records, then the return will be rejected.
  12. How are the California e-signature options different from the IRS options?
    There are three main differences that you need to be aware of:
    • If you use the practitioner PIN method, you must retain the California form FTB 8879.
    • If you use the self-select PIN method, you must provide your client's prior year California AGI.
    • If you don't use one of the electronic methods, you must retain (not mail) the form FTB 8453.