Employment Tax Modernized e-File (MeF) e-Signature Methods

Provider Roles Signature Methods
  Form 8879-EMP Form 8453-EMP PINs

Software Developers (SWDs)

Writes either origination or transmission software according to the IRS e-file specifications.  Signatures do not apply to this provider role.

Refer to the Software Developers Technical Fact Sheet for more information.

N/A N/A N/A

Third Party Transmitters (TPTs)

Sends the electronic return data directly to the IRS. EROs and Reporting Agents may apply to be transmitters and transmit return data themselves, or they may contract with an accepted third-party transmitter that can transmit the data for them. Signatures do not apply to this provider role.

Refer to the Transmitter Technical Fact Sheet for more information.

N/A N/A N/A

Reporting Agents

An accounting service, franchiser, bank, or other entity that is authorized to prepare and electronically sign and file  employment tax returns.

Refer to the Reporting Agent Technical Fact Sheet for more information.

N/A N/A Reporting Agent 5-digit PIN.

Electronic Return Originators (EROs)

An ERO originates the electronic submission of a tax return through IRS e-file after the taxpayer authorizes the electronic filing of the return.

Refer to the ERO Technical Fact Sheet for more information.

This form is used when the taxpayer and the ERO want to use a personal identification number (PIN) to electronically sign an electronic employment tax return.
Do not send this form to the IRS in the electronic submission or by paper. The ERO must keep Form 8879-EMP and provide the taxpayer with a copy of the signed Form 8879-EMP upon request.
If a PIN is not used to sign the return, then Form 8453-EMP must be used to authenticate an electronic employment tax return.
The taxpayer and ERO sign the Form 8453-EMP. The completed form is scanned and submitted with their electronic employment tax return.  Create the PDF file using any available tool. In creating a PDF file for the submission, it is important to adhere to the following guidance:
  • Do not password protect or encrypt PDF attachments submitted through MeF.
  • Keep binary attachments as small as possible. By exporting a document to create the PDF, it makes for a much smaller file than scanning one in. The IRS needs a readable PDF using any compatible software that creates a PDF file.  See Publication 4164 (PDF) for more information.
Practitioner PIN --The ERO selects an eleven position PIN to sign the electronic return. The first 6 positions of the Practitioner PIN will be made up of the EFIN of the ERO and the next 5 positions will be made up of 5 numeric characters that the ERO will select. The taxpayer must decide whether they want to enter their own PIN or whether they authorize the ERO to enter the PIN they choose as their signature.

Intermediate Service Provider (ISP)

An ISP receives tax returns from EROs (or from a taxpayer or tax exempt organization that files electronically using a personal computer, modem or the Internet, and commercial tax preparation software), processes the return information, and either forwards the information to a Transmitter, or sends the information back to the ERO (or to the taxpayer or exempt organization). Signatures do not apply to this provider role.

N/A N/A N/A

Online Providers

An Online Provider allows taxpayers to self-prepare returns by entering return data directly on commercially available software, software downloaded from an Internet site and prepared off-line, or through an online internet site. Online Provider is a secondary role; therefore, they must also choose another Provider Option such as Software Developer, Transmitter or Intermediate Service Provider. Although an ERO may also use an internet Web site to obtain information from taxpayers to originate the electronic submission of returns, the ERO is not an Online Provider.

N/A

The taxpayer signs and scans and attaches the completed form to their electronic employment tax return.  Create the PDF file using any available tool. In creating a PDF file for the submission, it is important to adhere to the following guidance:

  • Do not password protect or encrypt PDF attachments submitted through MeF.
  • Keep binary attachments as small as possible. By exporting a document to create the PDF, it makes for a much smaller file than scanning one in. The IRS needs a readable PDF using any compatible software that creates a PDF file.  See Publication 4164 (PDF) for more information.
94x Online Signature PIN (10-digit PIN)

Additional information regarding Authorized e-file Providers is available on Publication 3112 (PDF), IRS e-file Application and Participation, and additional information regarding the Employment Tax Modernized e-File e-Signature methods is available on Publication 4163 (PDF), Modernized e-File (MeF) Information for Authorized IRS e-file Providers for Business Returns.