Industry News: How to Get an EFIN

How to Get an EFIN  

What is an Authorized IRS e-file Provider

A Provider is a business or organization authorized by the IRS to participate in IRS e-file. It may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or other entity. The firm submits an e-file application, meets the eligibility criteria and must pass a suitability check before the IRS assigns an Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN). Applicants accepted for participation in IRS e-file are Authorized IRS e-file Providers.  

A Provider may be an Electronic Return Originator (ERO), Intermediate Service Provider, Transmitter, Software Developer, Reporting Agent or Online Provider. These roles are not mutually exclusive. For example, an Online Provider may also be a Transmitter. Providers may also be tax return preparers, but the activities and responsibilities for IRS e-file and return preparation are distinct and different from each other.  

Getting Started Apply to participate in IRS e-file using the online IRS e-file Application at Applying is an easy threestep process (explained later). This applies to all applicants that want to develop software or e-file federal tax returns, certain state income tax returns, and extensions of time to file individual, business, employment and exempt organization returns.   Filing state tax returns electronically is an additional business decision. Federal/State e-file is cooperative tax filing between the IRS and most of the states that have taxes. It allows electronic filing of both federal and state tax returns at one time. Each participating state has its own requirements, but all of the states require that the IRS accept applicants to participate in IRS e-file before they will accept the applicant to participate in their state electronic filing programs.  

The IRS may conduct pilot programs looking for ways to improve and simplify IRS e-file. The IRS may conduct pilot programs within a limited geographic area or with a limited taxpayer or practitioner community. The rules for pilot programs are contained in implementing documents referred to as “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) or “Memorandum of Agreement” (MOA). The implementing document has the same force as Revenue Procedure 2007-40.  

Applicants must become familiar with the rules and requirements for participation in IRS e-file by reading the applicable IRS e-file documents. Publication 1345 Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers of Individual Returns provides rules and requirements for participation in IRS e-file. Violation of a provision of Publication 1345 or this publication may subject an e-file Provider to sanctions. As noted in Publication 1345, those sanctions may include suspension, expulsion or other legal action. See “Sanctioning” in this publication for additional details. See Appendix for list of publications and other sources of information about IRS e-file. Applicants with questions may call the IRS e-help Desk, at (866) 255-0654 for assistance.

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