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Electronic Return Originator

An Electronic Return Originator (ERO) is the Authorized IRS e-file Provider that originates the electronic submission of a return to the IRS. The ERO is usually the first point of contact for most taxpayers filing a return using IRS e-file.

The Origination of an Electronic Return

Although an ERO may also engage in return preparation, that activity is separate and different from the origination of the electronic submission of the return to the IRS. An ERO originates the electronic submission of a return after the taxpayer authorizes the filing of the return via IRS e-file. An ERO must originate the electronic submission of only returns that the ERO either prepared or collected from a taxpayer. An ERO originates the electronic submission by either of the following:

  • Electronically sending the return to a Transmitter that will transmit the return to the IRS
  • Directly transmitting the return to the IRS
  • Providing a return to an Intermediate Service Provider for processing prior to transmission to the IRS

In originating the electronic submission of a return, the ERO has a variety of responsibilities, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Timely originating the electronic submission of returns
  • Submitting any required supporting paper documents to the IRS
  • Providing copies to taxpayers
  • Retaining records and making records available to the IRS
  • Accepting returns only from taxpayers and Providers
  • Having only one EFIN for the same firm for use at one location, unless the IRS issued more than one EFIN to the firm for the same location. For this purpose, the business entity is generally the entity that reports on its return the income derived from electronic filing. The IRS may issue more than one EFIN to accommodate a high volume of returns, or as it determines appropriate.

An ERO must clearly display the firm’s “doing business as” name at all locations and sites including Web sites at which the ERO or a third party obtains information from taxpayers for electronic origination of returns by the ERO.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 01-Apr-2014