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Advertising Standards

“IRS e-file” is a brand name. Firms accepted for participation in IRS e-file as EROs, Transmitters, Intermediate Service Providers, Reporting Agents and Software Developers are “Authorized IRS e-file Providers”. Acceptance to participate in IRS e-file does not imply endorsement of the software or quality of services provided by the IRS, Financial Management Service (FMS) or Treasury. All Providers must abide by the following advertising standards.

A Provider must comply with the advertising and solicitation provisions of 31 C.F.R. Part 10 (Treasury Department Circular No. 230). This circular prohibits the use or participation in the use of any form of public communication containing a false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, unduly influencing, coercive or unfair statement of claim. A Provider must adhere to all relevant Federal, state and local consumer protection laws that relate to advertising and soliciting.  

The Provider must not use improper or misleading advertising in relation to IRS e-file. For example, any claim concerning a faster refund by virtue of electronic filing must be consistent with the language in official IRS publications. The Provider must clearly describe that a financial institution is advancing funds as a loan or will provide the funds for other financial products. The advertisement on a Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) or other financial product must be easy to identify and in easily readable print. It must be clear in the advertising that the taxpayer is borrowing against the anticipated refund or obtaining funds from a financial institution and not obtaining the refund itself from the financial institution.

A Provider must not use the IRS’ name, “Internal Revenue Service,” or “IRS” within a firm’s name. However, once accepted to participate in IRS e-file, a firm may represent itself as an “Authorized IRS e-file Provider”. Advertising materials must not carry the FMS, IRS or other Treasury Seals. Advertising for a cooperative electronic filing project (public or private sector), must clearly state the names of all cooperating parties.  

The IRS does not have a copyright for the IRS e-file logo. Use the logo only to indicate that a Provider offers this service to taxpayers or has performed it on behalf of a taxpayer. Providers must not use the logo to portray any other relationship between the IRS and any Provider. In using the IRS e-file logo, the Provider must use the following guidelines:

  • Do not combine the logo with the IRS eagle symbol, the word “Federal” or with other words or symbols that suggest a special relationship between the IRS and the logo user
  • Do not place text closer than ¼ inch from the logo
  • Do not overprint other words or symbols on the logo
  • Do not change the letter spacing or type style

In one-color products, the logo should be printed solid, preferably PMS 285 blue. In multi-color products, print the logo in solid PMS 285 blue with the lightning bolt in solid PMS 109 yellow. When using color systems other than Pantone (PMS), the colors should be as close as possible to the PMS shades.  

If a Provider uses radio, television, Internet, signage or other methods of communication to advertise IRS e-file, the Provider must keep a copy and provide it to the IRS upon request, the text or, if prerecorded, the recorded advertisement. A Provider must retain copies until the end of the calendar year following the last transmission or use.

If a Provider uses direct mail, e-mail, fax communications or other distribution methods to advertise, the Provider must retain a copy, as well as a list or other description of the firms, organizations, or individuals to whom the communication was sent. The Provider must retain the records until the end of the calendar year following the date sent and provide the records to the IRS upon request.

 

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 31-Mar-2014