Become an Authorized e-file Provider
Save money, increase your productivity and build your business, while providing a service the majority of taxpayers now expect. IRS e-file has safely and securely transmitted more than 1 billion tax returns since 1990. Nearly 80 percent of all individual federal returns are now e-filed. Learn more about the program — now required for most tax return preparers — and how to become an Authorized IRS e-file Provider. It will be good for your customers AND good for your business.
Phase 1: Create an IRS e-Services Account
Before you begin the online e-file application, you must have an IRS e-Services account, which facilitates electronic interaction with the IRS. When you apply for an e-Services account, you will need to:
- Provide your legal name, Social Security Number (SSN), birth date, phone number, e-mail address AND your home mailing address (confirmation of your account will be mailed to you);
- Provide your Adjusted Gross Income from the current or prior tax year;
- Create a username, a password and a PIN, and provide an answer to a reminder question for your username;
- Make sure that every principal and responsible official in your firm signs up for e-Services; and
- Return to e-Services to confirm your registration within 28 days of receiving your confirmation code in the mail.
You can find definitions of a principal and a responsible official in IRS Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and Participation.
The verification and approval process for creating an account with IRS e-Services can take several days, so plan accordingly.
Phase 2: Submit Your Application to Become an Authorized IRS e-file Provider
Your firm can begin the application to become an Authorized IRS e-file Provider once all principals are approved for e-Services. The application process is not simple; however, the complexity is necessary to protect the integrity and security of the electronic filing system. Some of the key steps of the application process are listed below:
- Log in to e-Services and access the online application to become an IRS e-file provider;
- Select your e-file provider option — return preparers who want to e-file for a client should select Electronic Return Originator (ERO);
- Enter identification information for your firm, as well as services provided to taxpayers;
- Enter the name, home address, SSN, birth date and citizenship status for each principal and responsible official in your organization; and
- Enter current professional status and requested information if the principal or responsible official is an attorney, certified public accountant, enrolled agent, officer of a publicly owned corporation, or bonded bank official; or
- Call the IRS toll free at 866-255-0654 to request a fingerprint card for any principal or responsible official who is not an attorney, certified public accountant, enrolled agent, officer of a publicly owned corporation, or bonded bank; and
- Get fingerprinted by a trained professional at your local police station or at a company that provides this service; then
- Mail the signed and completed card to the IRS.
The e-file application process is comprehensive, designed to allow you to save your data during the session and to return to the application when convenient. Plan accordingly since the IRS may take up to 45 days to approve an Authorized IRS e-file Provider application.
Phase 3: Pass a Suitability Check
After you submit your application and related documents, the IRS will conduct a suitability check on the firm and each person listed on your application as either a principal or responsible official. This may include: a credit check; a tax compliance check; a criminal background check; and a check for prior non-compliance with IRS e-file requirements. Once approved, you will get an acceptance letter from the IRS with your Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN).
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