To get started, you should immediately register for IRS
e-Services. Once your IRS e-Services registration is accepted, you can
submit your application to become an Authorized IRS e-file
Provider online. Registration for e-Services can take about a
month. In addition, the application process can take another 6
weeks or so. It's best to not procrastinate until late in the
calendar year, because if the IRS has a backlog of applications,
you could face long delays, or you may not get your EFIN in time
to e-file for the upcoming filing season. So don't wait - do it
Becoming an IRS Authorized
Step 1: Create an IRS
Before you begin the online e-file
application, you must have an IRS e-services account. 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 (AGI) from
the current tax year or from a prior tax year
- Create a username,
a password and a PIN and provide an answer to a security question
- 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 via USPS mail.
Note: The last step above holds up
the process, because you have to wait for your confirmation code
to arrive via postal mail. Additionally, it can take up to 6 more
weeks for the IRS to approve your e-file application. So please
plan accordingly and allow enough time.
You can find definitions of a
principal and a responsible official, and get step-by-step
guidance through the IRS e-file application process in IRS
Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and Participation.
Additional IRS Publications that you should read are at the bottom
of this page.
You can create an IRS e-services
account by clicking
here. At the end of the process you'll receive a
Tracking Number. Next, read Step 2 below. You can speed up
the application process by calling the IRS to get your
fingerprint card today. This way you won't be
waiting for the confirmation code to arrive in the postal
mail before calling for your fingerprint card, and you can
go ahead and get fingerprinted now.
Step 2: Submit Your
Application to Become an Authorized IRS e-file Provider
Once the essential principals are
approved for IRS e-services, your firm can begin the application
to become an authorized IRS e-file Provider. The application is
designed so that you can save your data from one session, log out,
and return again when it's convenient.
Here's a few important things to
note when you are submitting your application to become an
Authorized IRS e-file Provider:
- First, you will supply
identification information for your tax preparation firm
- Next, you
will enter information about each Principal and Responsible
Official in your tax preparation firm
- You'll choose your e-file
provider option. Tax preparers that want to e-file tax
returns for clients select Electronic Return Originator
the Principal or Responsible Official is someone who is certified
or licensed, such as an Attorney, CPA or Enrolled Agent, they must
enter their current professional status information
- All other
individuals need to provide fingerprints to the IRS. You can get a
fingerprint card by calling 866-255-0654 You must be fingerprinted
by a trained professional - your local police station or sheriff's
department will likely provide this service for a modest fee.
However, you must call first, as they usually don't perform
fingerprinting for walk-ins. You'll need to find out the days and
times they are available. You may need to set an appointment. Be
sure to write your Tracking Number that you received in
Step 1 on the fingerprint card. Then
you'll mail the signed and completed fingerprint card to the IRS
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EFU acceptance STOP 983
310 Lowell St Andover, MA 05501-0001
At this point your application is
complete. The IRS will finish the e-file authorization process.
Step 3: Pass a Suitability
After you submit your application
and related documents, the IRS will conduct a suitability check on
the firm and each person listed on the 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 EFIN. If you are going to
use our tax software, once you receive your Acceptance Letter,
you'll need to email or fax either that or provide your E-File
Application Summary page with an EFIN status of "Active"
and an Electronic Return Originator status of
E-filing State Tax Returns
Ordinarily, obtaining an IRS EFIN also enables you to e-file
state tax returns, but you should know that some states have different
or additional e-file requirements. A majority of the states now
mandate e-filing of individual income tax returns - and may even
penalize tax preparers who send paper returns.
A handful of states require tax
preparer registration at the state level: California, Maryland,
New York, and Oregon. So if you're a tax preparer in one of these
states, see your state tax departments website for registration
requirements. In 46 states and the District of Columbia, paid tax
preparers are not required to have a state issued license. See our
Licensing Requirements page for further details.
Additional IRS Publications
Publication 1345, the Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers,
contains rules and regulations for Electronic Return Originators.
We strongly encourage all EROs that are new to E-filing to read
3112 and Publication 1345 to learn the IRS's rules and regulations.
Failure to know the rules and regulations is no defense in an IRS
action against you for their violation.
Also be sure to get IRS
Publication 4600 - Safeguarding Taxpayer Information Quick
Reference Guide for Businesses.