Tax pros can apply to be an IRS authorized e-file provider in a few simple steps

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Over 90% of all individual federal tax returns are filed electronically. Becoming an IRS-authorized e-file provider is important for tax preparers who want to keep up with client demand and grow their business. All it takes is a few simple steps.

Tax pros need to sign in or create an account for e-services access and complete the application. The e-file application is located on the e-services webpage under the E-file Provider Services section. To access the e-file application, providers need to log in with an existing IRS online account or register with the IRS’s credential service provider.

During the application process, providers can complete the application at their own pace. They can even save their progress and return to the application later.

To complete the application, providers will need to:

  • Fill out identification information for their firm.
  • Enter information about each principal and responsible official in their organization.
  • Choose the e-file provider option. Return preparers who want to offer e-file to their clients should select Electronic Return Originator.

Get electronically fingerprinted, if needed. If the principal or responsible official is certified or licensed, such as an attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent, they must enter their current professional status information. All other individuals will need to be fingerprinted.

The IRS recently transitioned to a new electronic fingerprinting process. Applicants must schedule an appointment with the IRS-authorized vendor for fingerprinting. The scheduling link is located on the e-file application summary page. There is no charge for this service.

Pass a suitability check. After the IRS receives the application and required information, the agency will conduct a suitability check, which may include a credit check, tax compliance check, criminal background check, or a check for prior non-compliance with IRS e-file requirements.

It can take up to 45 days from the date of submission for the IRS to approve an application. Once an application is approved, the IRS will mail an acceptance letter with the preparer’s Electronic Filing Identification Number or EFIN.

More information: Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and Participation

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