E-filing 94x forms - overview

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Our Support department is closed on Friday, April 28th for a company event. However, limited Accounting CS phone support is available on that date from 9 AM - 5 PM ET due to the approaching deadline for quarterly payroll tax forms.

Links to our most popular payroll tax processing topics are available in the Alerts and notices section on the right side of most pages.

For payroll compliance (annually licensed)

There are two methods of e-filing 94x forms (Forms 940, 941/944, 943, and 945). The first involves obtaining a separate PIN (10 digits) for each client and having the client enter that PIN as their signature. The second involves becoming a reporting agent, which enables your firm to file multiple returns using a single PIN (5 digits).

The application supports both methods of filing on an ad hoc basis. You can decide to file for all of your clients by one of the two methods exclusively, or select the appropriate method on a client-by-client basis. Of course, paper filing is available for everyone.

Thomson Reuters requires firms that are submitting electronic files to have a valid credit card on file (unless they have purchased an unlimited license). To add or update your credit card information, visit CS.ThomsonReuters.com/MyAccount/ManagePayments. If you are a Software as a Service (SaaS) firm, contact CS Customer Service at 800.968.0600 for further assistance.

See also

94x forms, overview

Payroll tax form year-end processing tips

Workflow - Processing payroll tax reconciliation forms

Processing corrected payroll tax forms

Per return pricing (PRP) information

The per-return transmission cost for electronically filing federal 94x forms is $6; enrollment files do not accrue a fee. There is no additional transmission cost for electronically filing state forms. For many firms, it may be more cost efficient to purchase an unlimited e-filing license. For pricing information on the unlimited e-filing license, contact your Sales Representative.

Pre-filing setup steps

Whichever filing method you choose, you need to perform these (usually one-time) firm information setup steps, or at least verify that they've already been done.

  1. Determine if you need to submit an E-file application summary
  2. Choose Setup > Firm Information > Firm and click the Main tab.
  3. In the Identification section, verify that the firm's EIN/SSN number has been entered in the EIN/SSN field in the Identification section.
  4. Choose Setup > Firm Information > Staff and click the Main tab
  5. In the Identification section,  verify that the ID, SSN, and First and Last name fields have been completed for at least one staff member.
  6. In the Preparer Information section, mark the Payroll form preparer checkbox for the staff member and enter their PTIN. This enables you to select this staff member as the preparer at the client level.
  7. In the Transmission Information dialog, accessed from the Actions > Process Electronic Forms screen, select the staff member from the drop-down list in the File contact field of the General section.
  8. Depending on how your firm is registered to file, also enter the following information in the Federal section of the Transmission dialog and then click OK.
    1. If you have already registered as an ERO with the IRS, enter your firm's EFIN number.
    2. If you have already registered as a reporting agent with the IRS, enter your firm's EFIN number and your Reporting agent PIN, and then confirm the PIN. Then enter the Firm Name Control. If you leave this blank, the application uses the first four valid characters of the firm name.

Filing as an electronic return originator (ERO) using individual client PINs

Registration

To file 94x returns electronically with client-specific PINs, you need to become an Electronic Return Originator (ERO). This means obtaining authorization from the IRS to be an e-file provider and getting an Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN). To learn how to apply for an IRS e-Services account and begin the online e-file application, point your internet browser to http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/e-File-Providers-&-Partners/Become-an-Authorized-e-file-Provider.

Enrollment

The next step is enrolling clients in the program to receive PINs. This process is done electronically using the 94x Client PIN screen.

  1. If the client has not yet been assigned a PIN by the IRS, enroll the client by choosing Actions > Enroll > 94x Client PIN.

    Note: All fields for the client you are enrolling must contain information. By default, the application uses the information you entered in the Main tab of the Setup > Clients screen. Enter the Client Contact and Signature Name in the Additional Contacts dialog (click the Ellipsis button in the Additional Contacts section of the Main tab).

  2. Mark the checkbox next to the client you want to enroll.
  3. Click the Transmit PINs button. The application transmits client enrollment information automatically, and your client should receive a PIN from the IRS within two weeks.

    Note: The application stores a local copy of the enrollment file in the location specified in the Electronic/Internet/Magnetic field in the File Creation tab of the Setup > File Locations dialog.

Important!

  • The client PIN is equivalent to the signature of an individual at the client's business. Your client should never share their PIN with you.
  • If the IRS notifies you that they have rejected a client PIN enrollment, refer to the Accounting CS enrollment rejections article, and then contact the CS Support Department at 800.968.0600.

Filing procedure

  1. Important! Verify that you have performed the pre-filing setup steps.
  2. After the client receives their PIN (10 digits), you must have them enter it in the application. Choose Setup > Clients, highlight the appropriate client, and click the Edit button.
  3. Click the Payroll Taxes tab and then click the Additional Information button for Federal 94X in the Forms section.
  4. In the Federal 94X Additional Information dialog, enter the Business name control and then have the client enter their PIN in the Client PIN and Confirm client PIN fields in the Electronic Filing section.

    The Client PIN and Confirm client PIN fields are encrypted so that no one can see the actual numbers.

    Because client PINs are confidential and available to the client only, the application cannot convert PINs from CSA.

    Note: Using an incorrect name control can result in the IRS rejecting your file. To help determine the correct business name control, see How Your Name Control is Assigned on the IRS website.

  5. If this is a final return for this client, click the Final Statement button to open the Final Statement dialog, where you can enter information about the type of final return and any new business information, if necessary.
  6. In the Signature Area section, select the appropriate taxpayer and preparer for the client, if they are not already selected. Then click OK to save the information and return to the Payroll Taxes tab.
  7. In the Federal 94X grid in the Forms section, select Electronic or Electronic with payment as the filing method for each form you want to file electronically and then click Enter to save your client information.
  8. Choose Actions > Process Payroll Tax Forms. Filter the tax reconciliation forms, mark the checkboxes for the forms you want to print, and then click the Process Selected button.
  9. The Print dialog displays. Make your selections in the Print dialog. If you do not want to print client paper copies, mark only the Filing copy checkbox and click OK. You must mark the Filing copy checkbox  to queue forms to the Actions > Process Electronic Forms screen.

    Note: The ELF Data Errors dialog displays any errors that the application finds in the data when you try to queue a file for transmission. These errors could include missing information, incomplete fields, or liability and net tax amounts that don't match.

  10. Choose Actions > Process Electronic Forms, mark the checkboxes for the clients and forms you want to process, and then click the Transmit Forms button to send the files.

Note: Once the 94x electronic filing information has been transmitted, it cannot be stopped. To delete the electronic filing information prior to transmission (if you discover an error, for example), in the Process Electronic Forms screen, mark the appropriate file(s) and click the Remove Selected button.

Filing as a reporting agent using a single PIN

Registration

To use this method, you must be authorized by the IRS as an e-file provider and have an Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN). To learn how to apply for an IRS e-Services account and begin the online e-file application, point your internet browser to http://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/e-File-Providers-&-Partners/Become-an-Authorized-e-file-Provider.

Note: For information on the implications of operating as a reporting agent, see the IRS publication Third Party Arrangements.

You must also file a Form 8655 (www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8655.pdf) for each client for whom you will be acting as a Reporting Agent. Reporting agent registration may take up to two months to process, so if you are interested in becoming a reporting agent, we encourage you to allow for the potential time delay when initiating the process.

See Printing the Reporting Agent List report and Form 8655 for instructions on using the application to create these documents for submission to the IRS when registering as a reporting agent.

When you act as a Reporting Agent, a representative of your firm receives a PIN (5 digits) that can be used to file multiple returns. Once you enter the reporting agent PIN, the application saves it so that you can configure any client to use it for 94x e-filing.

The reporting agent PIN is a signature and, in this case, carries the same liability as signing the return on behalf of the client. Please refer to the IRS guidelines regarding the usage and storage of personal identification numbers.

Filing procedure

  1. Important! Verify that you have performed the pre-filing setup steps.
  2. Choose Setup > Clients, highlight the appropriate client, and click the Edit button.
  3. Click the Payroll Taxes tab and then click the Additional Information button for Federal 94X in the Forms section.
  4. In the Federal 94X Additional Information dialog, enter the Business name control and then mark the Reporting agent checkbox in the Electronic Filing section. Click OK to save the information and return to the Payroll Taxes tab.

    Note: Using an incorrect name control can cause your file to be rejected. To help determine the correct business name control, see How Your Name Control is Assigned on the IRS website.

  5. If this is a final return for this client, click the Final Statement button to open the Final Statement dialog, where you can enter information about the type of final return and any new business information, if necessary.
  6. In the Signature Area section, select the appropriate taxpayer and preparer for the client, if they are not already selected. Then click OK to save the information and return to the Payroll Taxes tab.
  7. In the Federal 94X grid in the Forms section, select Electronic or Electronic with payment as the filing method for each form you want to file electronically and then click Enter to save your client information.
  8. Choose Actions > Process Payroll Tax Forms. Filter the tax reconciliation forms, mark the checkboxes for the forms you want to print, and then click the Process Selected button.
  9. The Print dialog displays. Make your selections in the Print dialog. If you do not want to print client paper copies, mark only the Filing copy checkbox and click OK. You must mark the Filing copy checkbox  to queue forms to the Actions > Process Electronic Forms screen.

    Note: The ELF Data Errors dialog displays any errors that the application finds in the data when you try to queue a file for transmission. These errors could include missing information, incomplete fields, or liability and net tax amounts that don't match.

  10. Choose Actions > Process Electronic Forms. Mark the checkboxes for the clients and forms you want to process and then click the Transmit Forms button to send the files.

Notes

  • Once the 94x electronic filing information has been transmitted, it cannot be stopped. To delete the electronic filing information prior to transmission (if you discover an error, for example) in the Process Electronic Forms screen, mark the appropriate file(s) and click the Remove Selected button.
  • If the pay period of a form is a future date, and if the agency will reject a submission for that form until the period has ended, Accounting CS will not attempt to transmit the file, and will display the message "Unable to transmit file due to the following errors: Filing period is in the future". In this case, you will need to click the Transmit button again for that file after that date has passed.

Viewing and printing acknowledgements

Accounting CS receives acknowledgements automatically and displays them when they become available, so there is no need for you to manually retrieve acknowledgements.

  1. Choose Actions > Process Electronic Forms.
  2. Click the Manage Forms button. In the Manage Forms dialog, the Status column displays one of the following for each file.
    • Sent to data center
    • Received by data center
    • Transmitted to agency
    • Accepted
    • Rejected

    Note: You can delete files with a Sent to data center status so that you can preprocess them, if necessary.

  3. To view the history of the status or the rejection code, click the Ellipsis button button next to the status.
  4. To print the information, click the Print button.

Note: The application transmits returns to the IRS periodically throughout the day. You will generally receive an acknowledgement for your return within 24 hours.

Handling rejected files

  1. If a file is rejected, click the Ellipsis button button next to the rejection code in the Manage Forms dialog.
  2. Correct or add the information based on the rejection code. E-file error rejection codes for 94x forms and state forms provides a list of common rejection codes and explains how to address them.
  3. Choose Actions > Process Payroll Tax Forms. Filter the tax reconciliation forms, mark the checkboxes for the forms you want to print, and then click the Process Selected button.
  4. Choose Actions > Process Electronic Forms. Mark the checkboxes for the clients and forms you want to process and then click the Transmit Forms button to send the files.

Note Once the 94x electronic filing information has been transmitted, it cannot be stopped. To delete the electronic filing information prior to transmission (if you discover an error, for example) in the Process Electronic Forms screen, mark the appropriate file(s) and click the Remove Selected button.

Related topic: Accounting CS enrollment rejections

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