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December 10, 2014 | Updates | Posted by Craig Baldwin Craig Baldwin

Eliminating $1 Billion Of Tax Industry Waste…Or Why We’ve Decided To Build 88seventysign

Intuit quotes a stat on their tax site about e-signatures that made me do a total double take the first time I read it.


“Organizations spend an average of $19.78 per document getting signatures (sending, tracking, reminding, managing, filing)”
$19.78 per document? That seems like a ton of money for one document.

But then again, massive printers, truck loads of toner, paper jams, band-aids for paper cuts, postage, organizing, tracking, reminding, organizing, last minute fire drills, and holy crap the partner just spent 30 minutes getting one signature from the most important client in the office.

Okay, I can see it, $19.78 per document. I knew Brad Smith would never lie to me, you handsome devil, you.

This means for those firms doing just 1,000 tax returns this upcoming tax season, according to Intuit, you’d be spending $19,780 a year on form 8878 and 8879 signatures. You know, the documents required by the IRS for every e-filed return submitted by a tax preparer – it’s costing your organization $20,000 for every 1,000 returns.

There were over 70 million 8878 and 8879s signed in 2013, costing US tax return preparers in aggregate, $1.4 billion dollars.


Holy mother of governmental waste there has got to be a better way to do this.

There is, and it’s called an e-signature.

With the IRS’ timely guidance this past year, it’s now acceptable for forms 8878 and 8879 to be signed with e-signature software, assuming the solution meets identity verification requirements – most commonly through knowledge based authentication (KBA).

But how much will e-signatures save me?


If you could eliminate all administrative, printer, paper, and postage costs – the answer is a lot.

In fact, 88seventysign, the tool we’re working on to handle the entire form 8879 e-signature process, will be $5 per return package.

If my accounting degree holds valid, that’s only $5,000 for those same 1,000 tax returns. A cool savings of $15,000, and for the US tax return preparation industry, a savings of over 1 billion dollars.


If you live in one of the 31 states and counting which allow state form e-signatures, don’t have state taxes, or don’t even have forms at all (the newest IRS guidance just applies to federal) then you’d be hard pressed to not do it.

That’s why we decided to create an 8879 (and 8878) e-signature tool as the first add-on at Sqrl.

But e-signature has been around for a while…


True, it’s an established, crowded market. In fact, I’d argue that it’s even a commodity at this point.

But for those firms looking to automate their 8879 process, 88seventysign is the only solution built for this specific workflow. Meaning we actually can get the cost to $5 per return.

We do that by having 88seventysign integrate with your existing tax software, facilitate the dynamic KBA required by the IRS, and auto-remind for signatures which still need completion before your deadlines.

The Sqrl dashboard even allows you to see the real-time status of every 8879 in your firm leading all the way up to the last minute of April 15th (and October 15th).
That’s how you reduce the cost of one 8879 from $19.79 per return to precisely $5 per return, every single time. It’s also how you eliminate 1 billion dollars in unnecessary waste for an entire industry.

It’s for those reasons the commitments keep rolling in for 88seventysign before it’s even released.

If you interested to find out more about 88seventysign we encourage you check out the website at 88seventysign.com or contact us directly at craig@getsqrl.com with questions, comments, interesting facts, and funny busy season stories.

  • jasonmblumer

    Def, Brad Smith is a handsome devil. : )