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e-file Overview

IRS e-file is the fastest and most accurate way to file your individual and business clients' returns. If you are just beginning your practice, there's no question that you will want to go electronic. If you are converting from a paper-based practiced, it's going to take some effort, but it's really going to pay off. Once you are set up, you will begin saving time and money. By the second year, you'll wonder why you waited to make the switch.

IRS e-file enables you to provide better service to your clients. And your clients will like the faster refunds that come along with e-file. Both you and your clients will like that e-filed returns result in fewer notices from IRS. Plus, the IRS acknowledges receipt of e-filed returns. IRS e-file is now the norm. It's the smart way for you to meet and exceed your client's expectations.

To get started, you should immediately register for e-Services. Once your e-Services registration is accepted, you can submit your application to become an Authorized e-file Provider online. Registration for e-Services can take about a month. In addition, the application process can take another 6 weeks or so.

Filing Options

IRS e-file includes both preparing tax returns electronically using software and filing the return electronically. There are many different tax preparation software products available in the market place for return prep. IRS does not endorse any particular software and as a Federal agency, we are prohibited from endorsing any particular software. As an Authorized e-file Provider, you are in the best position to determine the software that will work for you and your organization, depending on your business model.

There are a number of options for filing your client's returns as well. These also depend on the type of Authorized e-file Provider you are. You may originate returns, i.e., send them to a transmitter. On the other hand, you may prepare returns, and serve as your own originator and transmitter. As the transmitter, you would translate the return data into a format that is accepted by IRS computers.

Payment Options

Electronic payments are convenient, safe and secure way for clients to pay. Electronic payments options let your clients file when they are ready and pay later as long as they pay by the due date.

Clients who have a balance due can e-file and pay in a single step. They can authorize an electronic funds withdrawal or direct debit from their bank. Another option is to pay by credit card and delay out of pocket expenses. You may want to remind clients who pay by credit card that the credit card company is likely to charge a fee.

The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) offers a third option for paying Federal taxes. Through EFTPS, clients can schedule recurring payments for withdrawal from their bank account. Of course, we continue to take checks and money orders at the IRS as well.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 01-Apr-2014