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15269: Drake Portals - Drake e-Sign Online

Drake Portals - SecureFilePro

How do I use the Drake e-Sign Online function in Drake Portals - SecureFileProTM 


Drake e-Sign Online is integrated into Drake Portals and allows your clients to review and sign tax documents on their mobile device or computer.

Starting with Drake17, both current and prior year returns can be signed via Drake e-Sign Online. 

From the preparer’s view, you can:

From the client’s view, they can:

  • Sign documents.

When using Drake e-Sign Online, remember:

  • The Drake e-Sign Online process is different than using a Signature Pad to e-Sign documents in your office.
  • The Drake e-Sign Online process requires the purchase of e-Sign Events.
  • Documents can only be signed via Drake Portals if enough e-Sign Events have been purchased and are available.
  • Only a taxpayer (or spouse if a 1040 MFJ return) with a valid SSN is eligible to use the e-signature feature. See the IRS FAQ for details. 

Watch the video, Connect Signatures, for a demonstration.  

Preparer View

Purchase e-Sign Events 

In order to send forms for signature, you must first purchase e-Sign Events. You must have e-Sign Events available before you will be able to upload each PDF for signing.

Once purchased, e-Sign Events do not expire as long as you continue to maintain an active account status with Drake Portals. See below for additional usage details. 

To purchase e-Sign Events:

  1. In your browser, go to
  2. Log into your support account.
  3. Expand Purchasing.
  4. Click on Drake e-Sign.
  5. Enter the number of events you wish to purchase.
    • The current balance of events is displayed.
    • The minimum purchase is 5 events.
    • Bulk discounts are available for users wishing to purchase 10 or more e-Sign Events at a time. See the Purchase eSign Events section on the support site for details on available discounts.  
  6. Click Buy Now.
  7. Enter payment information.
  8. Agree to terms and conditions. 
  9. Click Submit Order.

Note: The e-Sign Event balance is also displayed when you click the e-Sign button in view mode of a return. 

Sign with e-Sign Events

  • Each e-Sign Event is good for all the signatures in a single PDF.
  • Choose the forms that need to be signed before clicking the e-Sign button in view mode.
  • Every additional PDF that needs to be signed will use an e-Sign Event.
  • If a document is not included in the PDF, but later needs to be signed, that second signature will require another e-Sign event.

Note: For a list of documents that can be e-Signed, see Related Links below.

Starting with Drake20, business returns can be e-signed through Drake e-Sign online. The date of birth is required to be entered on the K1, K1E, or PIN screen (in the 1065, 1120S, and 1041 return respectively) prior to creating the forms and uploading the documents for signing. 

After purchasing e-Sign Events, the forms may be sent to the client to be signed:

  1. View the completed return and select the forms that should be included in the PDF for e-signing.
  2. Click the eSign button.
  3. Select the radio button Sign online via SecureFileProTM.
    • If you do not have any e-Sign Events available for use, the radio button will be grayed out. Click the link SecureFilePro eSign Information and log in to the Drake Software support website to purchase e-Sign Events.
    • You cannot choose to add a password to the upload as the document is already protected by SecureFileProTM security measures.
    • Optionally, you can add watermarks to the document.
  4. Click Continue.


  5. From the Save As window, save the unsigned PDF to Drake Documents or browse to a different save location.
    • The File Upload Report displays to confirm that the upload was successful.
    • If you are not already logged in to Drake Portals in Drake Documents, you will be prompted to enter your Drake Portals credentials before the document will be uploaded.
  6. After the file is uploaded, the taxpayer will receive an email notification that a signature document is available for review and signing.
  • This email will contain a link and instructions for signing the document.
  • If the client does not have a Drake Portals account, the email will also tell the client that an account has been created for them.

​You can view the status of the eSignatures on the Connect tab of the Drake Portals pane in Drake Documents for each client. Statuses include: 

  • Not Sent - Signature forms have not been sent to the taxpayer for review/signatures.
  • Sent - Signature forms have been sent to the taxpayer for review/signatures.
  • Signed - Taxpayer has reviewed and completed the signature process.

Note: For more information on how to use the Connect Tab functions, see Related Links below.

Note: The Delete button can be selected to delete an unsigned or partially signed Signature Document from Drake Portals, however, this will not refund the e-Sign Event.

After the client has signed the document, you will receive a notification on the Drake Portals pane under the Notifications section:

  • The Signatures tab displays a red flag indicating that an item needs review.
  • The PDF is automatically saved in the Documents from Preparer folder.
  • You can expand the Notifications section to view details by clicking on the arrow.
  • Clear notifications by checking the checkbox next to the notification(s). Then click the Clear button. 

Download a Signed PDF copy to Drake Documents

  1. Click on the Files tab.
  2. Select the folder Documents from Preparer.
  3. Click on the signed PDF.
  4. Drag and drop the PDF from the Documents from Preparer folder to the Documents pane.

When you open the signed PDF, the taxpayer's signature will appear like this: 

Note: Once a signed document is moved to the Documents from Preparer folder, its default file expiration time begins. To change the default file expiration time, log in to Drake Portals, then:

  • Click on Settings.
  • Click on Account Settings.
  • Click on Default File Expiration.

Run Reports

You can review which customer’s signature documents have been uploaded by logging in to the Drake Portals website:

  1. Click on Settings.
  2. Click on Reports.
  3. Click on Latest File Transactions.
  4. In the For drop list, select Employees.
  5. In the File Name section, you will see a long file name including a section called SignableDocuments.
  • For more details, click the View Folder button. This will allow you to see the actual PDF that was uploaded to the client.

View Errors

If the error message "No SecureFilePro found for account number ######" appears:

  • If you do not have an active Drake Portals subscription, click the link Sign Up on the error window. An active Drake Portals subscription is required to use the Drake Portals features such as eSignatures.
  • OR

  • If you do have an active Drake Portals subscription:
  1. Click OK on the error message.
  2. Open Drake Documents.
  3. Click on Setup.
  4. Click on Options.
  5. Verify the account number entered or enter your valid Drake Portals Account number.
  6. Click Save and repeat the steps above to upload the Signature Documents.

Client View (see Related Links below for a taxpayer only version)

  • Once you upload a document to be eSigned by the taxpayer, they receive an email notification that there are documents to review and sign.
  • If the taxpayer has not yet set up an account login, the email will contain information and a link to set up their account as well as the instructions for signing the document.
  • Once the taxpayer creates and/or logs in to their Drake Portals account, they will see a red exclamation point (!) next to the Sign Forms menu showing that there are forms waiting to be signed.

Note: Clients must be at least 18 years old in order to sign their federal tax return using Drake e-Sign Online.

Sign the Documents:

  1. Click Sign Forms from the menu on the left.
  2. Double-click on the document showing under Documents Available to Sign.
    • The PDF document with signature fields opens.


  3. Scroll to the Your signature box (in yellow).
    • In this example, Form 8879 is being signed, so the taxpayer will scroll to Part II where the yellow box displays on the Your signature fields.
  4. Double-click on the yellow box to launch the "Knowledge Based Authentication" (KBA) process.
    • This verification process is required the first time a taxpayer signs a document through Drake Portals.
    • The taxpayer is presented with questions specific to their personal history, and they must correctly answer 3 out of 4 questions in order to proceed.

      Note: If the taxpayer does not pass the KBA in three attempts (correctly answering 3 out of 4 questions), they will no longer be eligible to eSign documents, which fulfills the IRS requirements related to capturing remote signatures. See Publication 1345 for details on IRS requirements.


  5. If the taxpayer successfully answers 3 out of 4 questions, another box appears that allows them to apply their eSignature to the form in each required field by using a mouse, stylus, or their finger.

    Note: If there is a secondary taxpayer (spouse) on the return, they must also complete the steps above. If there is only one taxpayer, continue below.

  6. Once completed, click Submit Signatures (in green).
  7. After the taxpayer(s) have completed all signature fields and clicked Submit Signatures, the preparer receives notification in the Drake Portals pane of Drake Documents.


  • Married Filing Joint returns – Different Addresses: The current version of Drake e-Sign Online only supports a single household address for both taxpayer and spouse. The verification software must be able to match both taxpayer and spouse to the address in order to ask the appropriate Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA) questions of the taxpayer and spouse. We recommend not using an e-Sign Event when you are unsure if both taxpayers have ever lived at the address entered on the Name and Address screen in Drake Tax as e-Sign Events are non-refundable. A future release will include a “Spouse address if different” option.
  • If the address on screen 1 is a foreign address, the KBA process will be unable to authenticate the identity of the taxpayer and/or spouse and they will be unable to e-sign. 
  • While Drake Portals is available for purchase and use by both Drake and non-Drake customers, the e-Sign option functions are only available for active Drake users. 
  • Every Drake Portals package, including the 14-day free trial, has access to all Drake Portals features (Files, Profile, Checklist, Questionnaires, Signatures, and, Payment).
  • All users must purchase e-sign events in order to sign online; there are no trial e-Sign events available. 
  • System Requirements: Drake e-Sign Online is designed to work on iOS and Android devices, as well as Windows-based computers and Macs. We cannot guarantee that Drake e-Sign Online will work on all configurations, browsers, devices, platforms, and operating systems.

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