FAQs for Authorized e-file Providers with Websites

IRS is developing a universal catalog of URLs (website addresses) related to Authorized IRS e-file Providers to combat fraudulent tax preparation and phishing sites. This information will be used to allow investigators to more quickly identify and validate a URL should there be a question of the validity of a website that gathers or collects tax return information from taxpayers.

A URL (Universal Resource Locator) is simply a website address such as www.irs.gov.

No. If you do not have a website, this rule does not apply to you.

No. If you do not gather or collect tax return information from taxpayers via the Internet directly or through third parties to e-file federal returns, this rule does not apply to you.

Authorized IRS e-file Providers, NOT affected by this rule include those that:

  • Does not have an internet website that obtains taxpayer information from a taxpayer or third party via the internet for the purpose of e-filing returns,
  • Have a website for informational and/or marketing purposes only,
  • Only receives or sends taxpayer information via e-mail,
  • Does not use websites to collect taxpayer information and transmit the returns through third party transmitters,
  • Prepares returns and uses Provider's website to e-file their returns, or
  • Only provides a link to another company's website that allows taxpayers to input taxpayer information.

No. If you receive information from clients in person, you do not gather or collect tax return information from taxpayers via the internet directly or through third parties to e-file federal returns.  Using an Authorized IRS e-file Provider to e-file returns does not qualify as gathering or collecting tax return information from taxpayers. This rule does not apply to you.

No. Receiving information via e-mail is not considered receiving tax return information from taxpayers via the website or through third parties to e-file federal returns. This rule does not apply if you do not gather or collect tax return information from taxpayers via the website or through third parties to e-file federal returns.

Maybe. There are several factors that must be considered.  See the following scenarios to see if any apply to your business model.

Scenario 1: Your website has a link to another website:

  • The website for Company A has a link that directs taxpayers to Company B’s website.
  • Company B’s website has a “Start Now” link that allows taxpayers to begin preparing their return.  All the taxpayer information is stored on Company B’s server.
  • Company A: Is NOT required to register its URL. It does not gather or collect tax return information from taxpayers via the Internet for e-filing returns.  It only has a link to Company B’s website.
  • Company B: Is required to register its URL with the IRS as its website is used to gather or collect tax return information from taxpayers via the internet for e-filing returns.

Scenario 2:  Your website has a “Start Now” feature:

  • Company A’s website has a “Start Now” link that takes taxpayers seamlessly into Company B’s server where taxpayers begin preparing their return.  All the taxpayer information is stored on Company B’s server.
  • Company A:  Is NOT required to register its URL as the website is not used to gather or collect tax return information from taxpayers through a third party via the Internet for e-filing returns.  It does not matter where the information is stored.
  • Company B: Company B is required to register Company A’s URLs as Company A’s websites are portals or allow access to the Authorized IRS e-file Provider’s online e-file software; Company B must also register its own URLs as its website is used to gather or collect tax return information from taxpayers via the internet for e-filing returns.

Scenario 3: You lease your website that has the “Start Now” feature:

  • Company A’s website (which is owned by Company B but leased to Company A) has a “Start Now” link that takes them seamlessly into Company B’s server where taxpayers begin preparing their return. All the taxpayer information is stored on Taxpayer B’s server.
  • Company A:  Is not required to register as they do not gather or collect tax return information from taxpayers via the Internet directly or through third parties for e-filing returns.
  • Company B: Is required to register its URLs leased to Company A that are portals or allow access to the Authorized IRS e-file Provider’s online e file software. Company B is also required to register its own URLs that gather or collect tax return information from taxpayers via the Internet directly or through third parties for e-filing returns.

Yes. When you allow taxpayers to go into your website to input their tax return information, you are gathering or collecting tax return information via the internet. In this scenario this rule applies to your company and you need to register the URL with the IRS.

This e-file rule applies to all Authorized IRS e-file Providers that gather or obtain tax return information from taxpayers via the Internet (not including e-mail) directly or through third parties to e-file federal returns.

Tax return information is defined as any information that is obtained or used in the preparation of a tax return (e.g., social security numbers, Employer Identification Number, names, and addresses, dates of birth, income statements, and notes taken in a meeting).

The information that must be provided includes

  • EFIN of the Provider,
  • Name of the Principal Person or Responsible Official who appears on the e-file application and will be submitting the required information, and
  • Uniform Resource Locators (website address) of all websites that:
    • The Provider uses for e-file of federal returns,
    • Are portals or allow access to the Provider’s online e-file software or,
    • Are used to gather or obtain tax return information from taxpayers or the purpose of preparing and e-filing federal tax returns.

This feature allows Providers to register, edit, delete, or transfer their website URLs pursuant to the IRS July 2007 requirements.

  1. Log onto e-Services and continue to the e-file application page.
  2. In e-file application:
    • Select “Firm information” and answer ‘yes’ to the question “Do you own or operate web site(s) through which taxpayer information is collected, transmitted, stored or processed?” and select “Save.”
    • Select “URL Collections” and then select “Add URL”,” Upload URL” or “Transfer URL” and provide the needed information and select “Save.”

Note: Refer to the available illustrated tutorials in e-Services for more details.

Information was first required to be submitted as of September 10, 2007.

A Principal or Responsible Official who appears on the e-file application is the only person authorized to submit this information.

No. You are required to register URLs ONLY if you are an Authorized IRS e-file Providers and your websites;

  • Are used for e-file of federal returns,
  • Are portals or allow access to your online e-file software, or
  • Are used to collect or gather tax return information from taxpayers via the Internet directly or through third parties to e-file federal returns.

No, the EFIN provided as part of the URL registration document will act as the unique identifying number for your business. No other firm information needs to be included.

You may use any of your active EFINs. The EFIN is used for verification and affiliation purposes only.

You add new or delete old URL’s by using “URL collection” in your e-file application.   You must submit to the IRS, within three (3) business days, any changes to previously provided information.

Failure to provide the required information timely and accurately may result in the IRS, its agents or the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) shutting down and, potentially seizing the contents of, non-validated websites that appear to be engaging in fraudulent schemes.

Also, an Authorized IRS e-file Provider that fails to comply with these IRS e-file rules may be suspended or expelled from participation in IRS e-file in accordance with Revenue Procedure 2007-40 and Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and Participation.

Questions regarding the requirement to register URLs or the process to do so can be sent to the efileurlreg mailbox.