Emergency access codes FAQs

Alerts and notices

The following information answers some frequently asked questions about emergency (or temporary) access codes.

Here are some examples of safe places to keep your emergency access codes:

  • On a piece of paper in a locked drawer.
  • On a piece of paper in your wallet (not the best choice).
  • In your password manager application.

These are not safe places to keep your emergency access codes:

  • In a file on your computer. If a bad actor gains access to your machine, they will be able to get into your account because the code is on your computer.
  • In your phone. If your phone is lost, stolen, or otherwise inaccessible (or it's not working), you won't be able to get at your emergency access codes.
  • In your wallet. Especially true for women, if your purse is stolen, the criminal has your emergency access codes AND your phone. You won't be able to get into your account quickly to remove your phone as an approved MFA device.

No. The codes do not have a timeframe in which they must be used. However, once the code has been used once, it is now expired and a new code must be used.

No. Emergency access codes and the 24 hour temporary code are completely separate from each other and have no relation. If you have a 24 hour code active, you could still use an emergency access code.

All temporary access codes (including a 24 hour code) will become invalid after the last MFA device is removed from your account.

The emergency access codes are truly one-time use codes. For example, let's say I have the codes 34, 70, and 62 and I forgot my phone. I use code 34 to log in - that code has now been used up and is no longer valid. If I need to e-file or re-authenticate, I have to use 70.

Note that in a situation where someone forgets their phone, they should really be using an emergency access code to log in to CS Web, NetStaff, or Onvio to add another device (support for multiple devices is available for NetFirm as of 9/6/18).

You can have a maximum of 10 emergency access codes at any given time. If I have 8 codes left and then go into my account and generate more codes, those 8 that I had are now invalid and the 10 I just generated are valid. There's no "stockpiling" of codes allowed.