Sign Your Tax Return in Blue Ink

Esther and I got a scary piece of mail yesterday. The fine folks at the Internal Revenue Service sent our entire tax return back to us. Minus the accompanying check, of course.

A cover sheet said we had failed to sign the return, which we filed on a timely basis in October.

That sounds easy to fix, except for one thing: we did sign the return. If you turn to the second page of the return where it says “SIGN HERE,” you will see fine examples of both of our signatures. (You’ll just have to trust me on this – somehow I don’t feel like posting a scanned image of our tax return.)

So what happened? Our best guess, echoed by several others, is that the IRS thinks one of our signatures is photocopied.

They are not. Esther and I make a point of signing the tax form together. But this year we used a fine black pen (the Uniball Deluxe Micro, usually highly-recommended). It’s an excellent writing instrument but, to be fair to the IRS, the resulting signatures could be mistaken as photocopied. (Dear IRS: It would be nice if you mentioned this on the cover sheet.)

But, let me repeat again, they are not. Our signatures are originals. Part of me is tempted to go all CSI and find a lab to confirm that. But I think we will settle for a friendly note to the IRS.

And we will sign the returns again, this time in blue ink. Maybe with a Paper Mate Flair.

10 thoughts on “Sign Your Tax Return in Blue Ink”

  1. Considering the state of the Federal Government’s finances perhaps RED ink would be better.

    1. a most intelligent response……black is dead…and recently heard blue [ my preference ] was dead too, so signing irs dox in red [ symbolic of mans blood ] seems appropriate. I may use red for important official dox which are notarized as well….to reflect the office of a living man.

  2. I guess when the IRS discovers the existence of color copiers we’ll all have to get our signatures notarized. (hmm, note to self: Create some nationwide chain of quick-service, high-capacity, low cost structure notary public services. Build barriers to entry via economies of scale and efficient processes. Don’t forget to…ahem…”lobby” Congress for this new IRS requirement)

    (Paul — good line re: red ink. Although, given that tax payments reduce red ink, perhaps the signature color should be green, not for the “color of money” but rather because green is the opposite of red on the color wheel)

    1. Then again, how long will there be lots of people not filing completely electronically? Might not want to set up the Blockbusters (physical store chain) of tax return notarizing services.

  3. I have seen this alot in our practice. I always encourage our clients to sign in blue ink, but you make a good point about colored copiers. Efile is the best way to go that way you have a digital signature.

  4. It’s because signing your name in red signifies blood and only a real living breathing person with a soul can sign in blood, NOT a corporation. You will notice than when the IRS writes to you they write to you in ALL CAPITALS (same as your birth certificate). This is the LEGAL FICTION (corporation) that was created when your birth cert was issued. The living breathing person doesn’t have to pay them, a corporation does. Thats why they ask you to use black ink and cap letters!

  5. TO the uniball lover……I love pilot ballpoints…..I’m a former papermate lover [ but they went kiddie style w/fruity colors and lost my loyalty doing that ]. I need to get a stash of red ballpoints from pilot for the legal stuff now….2013 is gonna be exciting for us students of law….

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