ELF - All Entities: Applying to become an e-file provider (FAQ)

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Fixed Assets and UltraTax CS 2023 help is now on Help and Support. We're still moving articles, but you can find most content for the 2023 tax year there. Continue using the Help & How-To Center for tax years 2022 and older.


Do I need to file an application to file electronic returns?


The IRS requires all participants in the electronic filing program to register online with the IRS e-services to receive an Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN). To prepare for electronic filing before the tax season begins, you must complete an IRS e-file application by December 1, 2018.

To access IRS e-services from a client's return, choose Help > Tax Subject Index, click the Web Form instructions option, highlight the IRS e-services link, and click Go To.

Note: The IRS processes only online applications. You can no longer file Form 8633.

  1. Create an IRS e-Services account.
  2. Submit your e-file provider application online.
  3. Pass a suitability check.

The IRS may take 4-6 weeks to complete the online application process. Therefore, you should apply well in advance of tax season to ensure that you are completely set up before the electronic filing season begins.

Once an e-file application is submitted and approved by the IRS, you do not need to reapply in subsequent years unless you did not file returns electronically in recent prior years, were suspended from the IRS e-file program, or your business information has changed. Also, if you plan to electronically file any business returns (940, 941, 990, 1041, 1065, 1120, and 2290), you need to revise your application accordingly.

All plan year 2009 and later Form 5500 returns / reports must be filed electronically. If you are using the service provider designation option to sign the return, Form 5500 requires that you file a separate online application to obtain the Personal Identification Number (PIN) and Signer Identification Number - Form EFAST2. EFAST2 electronic credentials can be obtained by registering on the EFAST2 website, www.efast.dol.gov.

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