How to Get an EFIN


HI, I’M MEL, AND I WORK FOR
THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE. TAX PROFESSIONALS WHO FILE MORE THAN
TEN TAX RETURNS A YEAR ARE REQUIRED TO USE IRS E-FILE. TO FILE ELECTRONICALLY,
YOUR FIRM MUST HAVE AN ELECTRONIC FILING IDENTIFICATION NUMBER
OR EFIN. AND YOU MUST OBTAIN YOUR EFIN
DIRECTLY FROM THE IRS, AND NOT FROM ANY THIRD PARTY. PUBLICATION 3112, WHICH IS CALLED
“E-FILE APPLICATION AND PARTICIPATION”, WALKS YOU THROUGH THE PROCESS. BUT HERE ARE SOME HIGHLIGHTS. BECOMING AN AUTHORIZED E-FILE PROVIDER
IS A THREE-STEP PROCESS, REGISTERING FOR E-SERVICES,
COMPLETING AN E-FILE APPLICATION AND PASSING A SUITABILITY CHECK. STEP ONE IS REGISTERING FOR E-SERVICES. TO COMPLETE THIS FIRST STEP,
VISIT IRS.GOV/ESERVICES TO LEARN HOW TO
CREATE AN E-SERVICES ACCOUNT. REMEMBER, EACH PRINCIPAL
AND RESPONSIBLE OFFICIAL IN YOUR FIRM MUST CREATE THEIR OWN E-SERVICES ACCOUNT. IT MAY TAKE SEVERAL DAYS
TO CONFIRM YOUR ACCOUNT, SO YOU’LL NEED TO PLAN ACCORDINGLY. STEP TWO, IS COMPLETING
AN E-FILE APPLICATION. THE APPLICATION PROCESS IS VERY DETAILED,
BUT AS A TAX PROFESSIONAL, YOU UNDERSTAND THESE STEPS ARE
NECESSARY TO PROTECT THE INTEGRITY AND SECURITY OF THE
ELECTRONIC FILING SYSTEM. KEEP IN MIND AS YOU PLAN OUT THIS PROCESS,
IT CAN TAKE UP TO 45 DAYS FOR THE IRS TO APPROVE AN E-FILE PROVIDER APPLICATION. I WON’T GO THROUGH EVERY STEP OF
COMPLETING THE APPLICATION, BUT HERE ARE SEVERAL
IMPORTANT ITEMS TO NOTE. MAKE SURE YOU SUPPLY
IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION, SUCH AS THE EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION
NUMBER FOR YOUR FIRM. THEN, CHOOSE YOUR
E-FILE PROVIDER OPTION. IF YOU ARE A RETURN PREPARER
AND WANT TO E-FILE FOR CLIENTS, SELECT “ELECTRONIC RETURN ORIGINATOR”,
OR E-R-O. ALSO ENTER INFORMATION ABOUT EACH
PRINCIPAL, AND RESPONSIBLE OFFICIAL IN YOUR ORGANIZATION. AND, ENTER THEIR CURRENT
PROFESSIONAL STATUS, SUCH AS ATTORNEY,
BONDED BANK OFFICIAL, CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT,
ENROLLED AGENT, OR OFFICER OF A
PUBLICLY TRADED CORPORATION. YOU WILL ALSO NEED TO PROVIDE
FINGERPRINTS TO THE IRS FOR EACH PRINCIPAL RESPONSIBLE OFFICIAL IF
THEY LACK PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS. YOU CAN GET A FINGERPRINT CARD
BY CALLING THE E-HELP DESK AT 866-255-0654. YOU MUST BE FINGERPRINTED
BY A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL. YOUR LOCAL POLICE STATION WILL LIKELY
PROVIDE THIS SERVICE FOR A MODEST FEE OR THERE ARE COMMERCIAL SERVICES. THEN JUST MAIL THE SIGNED AND
COMPLETED CARD TO THE IRS. FINALLY, STEP THREE,
IS PASSING A SUITABILITY CHECK. YOUR FIRM AND EACH PERSON
LISTED ON YOUR APPLICATION AS EITHER A PRINCIPAL
OR RESPONSIBLE OFFICIAL MUST PASS
A SUITABILITY CHECK. THIS MAY INCLUDE A CREDIT CHECK,
A TAX COMPLIANCE CHECK, A CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK,
AND OTHER REVIEWS TO MAKE SURE YOU PREVIOUSLY FOLLOWED IRS
E-FILE REQUIREMENTS. ONCE YOUR APPLICATION IS APPROVED,
YOU WILL GET AN ACCEPTANCE LETTER FROM THE IRS WITH YOUR EFIN. THE PROCESS MAY BE FINISHED,
BUT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY DOESN’T STOP HERE. YOU MUST MAINTAIN,
MONITOR AND PROTECT YOUR EFIN. WATCH OUT FOR AND AVOID SCAMS. IDENTITY THIEVES ROUTINELY TRY TO
STEAL E-SERVICES PASSWORDS AND EFINS. TO GET THE LATEST UPDATES AND MESSAGES,
SIGN UP FOR E-NEWS FOR TAX PROFESSIONALS AND QUICK ALERTS. AGAIN, FOR STEP-BY-STEP GUIDANCE
ON THE E-FILE APPLICATION PROCESS, REVIEW PUBLICATION 3112
ON IRS.GOV.

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