The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t typically leave people in a thankful mood, but proponents of electronic mortgages should feel downright cheery over a new IRS rule that goes into effect in a little more than a month.

On Jan. 7, 2013, the IRS will begin accepting electronically signed 4506-T and 4506-EZ documents, or the income verification forms that are part of the processing of almost every mortgage and loan modification. It’s a subtle adjustment that doesn’t endorse any specific technology, yet it will have a major impact on the quest to remove paper and time from the mortgage process, since the use of electronic signatures for income verification can also lead to greater use of digital signatures in other parts of mortgage lending.

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