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IRS reminds tax professionals to check Electronic Filing Identification Number status

Fact Sheet 2015-27, 11/30/2015

In a Fact Sheet, IRS has recommended that tax professionals review their Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) status to ensure its accuracy and security in anticipation of the 2016 filing season.

Background. IRS issues EFINs to Authorized IRS e-file Providers which enable the tax professional to file tax returns electronically. EFINs are available only by accessing IRS e-services. EFIN recipients must meet certain requirements, including a background check, in order to qualify. These requirements, as well as the necessary steps to obtain an EFIN, are covered in Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and Participation.

Recommended actions. IRS recommends that tax professionals take certain steps prior to and during the filing season, including:

Review e-file application on e-services at before the filing season and update accordingly. Any changes, such as individuals involved, addresses or telephone numbers, should be reflected within 30 days of the change. Failure to do so may result in inactivation of the EFIN.
Ensure proper individuals are identified on the application. The e-file application should only include individuals who are authorized to act for the business entity in legal and/or tax matters—e.g., partners with a 5%-or-greater interest in the partnership, or officers of a corporation.
Identify one or more responsible officials. A responsible official is an individual with authority over the Provider’s IRS e-file operation at a location, is the first point of contact with IRS, and has authority to sign revised IRS e-file applications. The responsible official may oversee IRS e-file operations at one or more offices but must be able to fulfill identified responsibilities for each of the offices. If one individual cannot fulfill these responsibilities, more responsible officials should be added to the e-file application.
Ensure EFIN requirements are met for EROs with multiple locations. An Electronic Return Originator (ERO) that plans on opening a new location only needs to have one EFIN unless offices are transmitting returns from multiple locations. Each business location transmitting returns needs its own EFIN, and all records should be maintained at that location.
Help safeguard the EFIN. During the filing season, check EFIN status to ensure that the EFIN is not being improperly used by others. The e-file application shows the volume of returns received by IRS, which is updated weekly and can be matched against a provider’s records. Discrepancies should be reported to the e-help Desk at 866-255-0654.
Verify providers’ status. Transmitters must ensure they are transmitting only for Authorized IRS e-file Providers and should request that Providers supply information, such as a current copy of the application summary page from their e-services account, to verify their status.
Verify status of employees, etc. Providers should ensure that they are not are not employing or contracting with any firm, organization or individual denied, suspended, or expelled from participation in IRS e-file.

References: For IRS’s electronic filing program, see FTC 2d/FIN ¶  S-1611; United States Tax Reporter ¶  60,114.08; TaxDesk ¶  572,019; TG ¶  1995.