The Internal Revenue Service has decided to postpone a change it had planned for this year to limit the number of e-file signature authorization documents for filing Form 1041 estate and trust tax returns to a single 1041 return rather than multiple returns.

The IRS had originally announced the change last month, saying the Multiple Tax Return Listing process used to sign electronically filed Form 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts needed to be modified (see IRS Limits Tax Return Listings for Estates and Trusts). The change was slated to begin Jan. 1, 2014, requiring the IRS e-file Signature Authorization document, Form 8879-F, to be associated only with a single 1041 return, instead of the multiple forms used today. The Multiple Tax Return Listing process had allowed fiduciaries to mass-sign electronically filed the estate and trust tax returns, but they will now need to be signed individually.

However, on Friday, the IRS said it would postpone the change for a year, until Jan. 1, 2015. The MTRL process, as it is currently implemented, will continue for 2014.

The IRS said the change is required for two reasons following additional legal review by the agency. First, the perjury statement on the form refers to amounts in Part 1 of the form and the relevant amounts are actually on the attached listing. Second, a signature on one form cannot ensure that the signer reviewed and approved each of the Forms 1041 in the listing.

The following publications will be updated to reflect the policy change:

• Publication 1437, Procedures for the 1041 e-File Program U.S. Income Tax Returns for Estates and Trusts for Tax Year 2014

• Publication 1438, File Specifications, Validation Criteria & Record Layouts for the Form 1041, e-File U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts for Tax Year 2014

• Publication 4163, Modernized e-File (MeF) Information for Authorized e-File Providers for Business Returns

• Publication 4164, Modernized e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers and Transmitters

The IRS said it recognized that the change due to the legal requirements would add additional steps for some fiduciaries. The IRS added that it would consider alternative signature methods and would work to make the change as smooth as possible.

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