Modernized e-File (MeF) for employment taxes: Frequently asked questions

 

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What is Modernized e-File (MeF) for employment taxes?

MeF for employment taxes is part of IRS e-file. It is an electronic filing process that allows the Form 94x family of returns to be received through the Modernized e-File (MeF) system. MeF for employment taxes accepts the following employment tax returns for paperless electronic filing: 

Who can participate in MeF for employment taxes?

MeF for employment taxes participants include the following:

  • Software developers develop software for the purposes of formatting electronic return information.
  • Transmitter is a firm, organization or individual that receives returns and Form 94x on-line signature PIN Registrations electronically from clients, reformats the data (if necessary), batches them with returns or Form 94x on-line signature PIN registrations from other clients and then transmits the data to the IRS.
  • Reporting agent is an accounting service, franchiser, bank or other entity that complies with Revenue Procedure 2012-32, and is authorized to prepare and electronically file 94x returns for a taxpayer. Reporting agents sign all of the electronic returns they file.
  • Electronic return originator (ERO) is any entity that "originates" the electronic submission of tax returns to the IRS.
  • 94x on-line filing provider allows taxpayers to self-prepare returns by entering return data directly into commercially available IRS approved software.
  • 94x on-line e-filer uses IRS approved software to electronically file his/her employment tax returns through a designated transmitter that will batch, bundle and transmit files to the IRS.

For complete guidelines, review the following:

What are the benefits for employment taxes?

  • It's convenient
  • It's paperless
  • Provides electronic acknowledgment in near real time
  • Provides automated tax preparation work: Use preparation software that performs calculations, and highlights needed forms and schedules.
  • Allows integrated payment option: Owe Taxes? You can e-file a balance due return and, at the same time, authorize an electronic funds withdrawal from your bank account. Payments are subject to limitations of the federal tax deposit rules.
  • Fast: Information is quickly available to IRS Customer Service sites and processing time is reduced.
  • Accurate: Fewer risks of transcription errors and error rates of less than one percent.
  • Safe: Tax Information is secure and only authorized users have access to the system.

What are the general requirements to participate in MeF for employment taxes?

If the 94x on-line filer chooses to become an IRS authorized signer, they must use software that includes the Form 94x on-line PIN signature registration. It must be complete and accurate.

To become an IRS authorized provider, first you must complete the IRS e-file application. You will need to select the provider role(s) that best meets the needs of your company. Review the additional governing rules and regulations for information you need to know regarding the roles and responsibilities of authorized IRS e-file providers. For details, see Publication 3112PDF and Revenue Procedure 2007-40.

Interested participants who choose the option to use a reporting agent should have their reporting agent submit a completed IRS e-file application, electronically, on-line after registering for e-Services. For complete guidelines, refer to Publication 1474PDF and Revenue Procedure 2012-32.

When are 94x e-file Program applications due?

Potential business participants must submit the IRS e-file application or Form 94x on-line signature PIN 45 days in advance of the next return due date in order to timely e-file.

Software developers and transmitters will be required to submit a successful test transmission before being granted approval to file tax returns.

Upon IRS approval of the e-file application, a personal identification number (PIN), user ID/password/access code to access the Electronic Filing System will be issued to the participant, as applicable.

In addition, the IRS e-file application must include all pertinent information as specified in the following:

How can I get more information?

Additional information is available on the Modernized e-File information page. If help is needed with your e-file tax needs, you may contact the e-help Desk at 866-255-0654 (toll-free).

Frequently asked questions

MeF for employment taxes accepts the current year and 2 prior years for the Form 940/940-PR with the following attachments:

Note: The Schedule A is not supported with the Form 940-PR in MeF.

Not all software supports all schedules, forms and statements. You will need to choose the software provider which best supports your needs. IRS approved providers can be found on our 94x Modernized e-File (MeF) providers page.

MeF for employment taxes accepts all current year quarter tax returns, and returns for the 2 prior years with the following attachments:

Not all software supports all schedules, forms and statements. You will need to choose the software provider which best supports your needs. IRS approved providers can be found on our 94x Modernized e-File (MeF) providers page.

MeF for Employment Taxes accepts the current year and 2 prior years for the Form 943/943-PR with the following attachments:

Not all software supports all schedules, forms and statements. You will need to choose the software provider which best supports your needs. IRS approved providers can be found on our 94x Modernized e-File (MeF) providers page.

MeF for employment taxes accepts the current year and 2 prior years for the Form 944 with the following attachments:

Not all software supports all schedules, forms and statements. You will need to choose the software provider which best supports your needs. IRS approved providers can be found on our 94x Modernized e-File (MeF) providers page.

MeF for Employment Taxes accepts the current year and 2 prior years for the Form 945 with the following attachments:

Not all software supports all schedules, forms and statements. You will need to choose the software provider which best supports your needs. IRS approved providers can be found on our 94x Modernized e-File (MeF) providers page.

No. MeF will not support 94x amended returns. See Correcting employment tax returns for more information.

No. The federal/state program is not currently available for Modernized e-File (MeF) for employment taxes.

MeF for employment taxes supports four (4) signature methods.

  • Reporting agent PIN - Choose an Authorized IRS e-file provider to prepare, sign and e-file the returns for you. A Reporting Agent is an accounting service, franchiser, bank, or other entity that complies with Rev. Proc. 2012-32, and is authorized to prepare and electronically file 94x returns for a taxpayer. Reporting Agents sign all of the electronic returns they file.
  • Online signature PIN - Complete the Form 94x on-line signature PIN process provided in the software to become an IRS authorized signer of your company’s 94x tax returns. Use your 10-digit PIN to sign these returns. It may take up to 45 days to receive your PIN, so plan ahead.
  • Practitioner PIN - Complete Form 8879-EMP, IRS e-file Signature AuthorizationPDF, if you and your electronic return originator choose to create a 5-digit electronic filing PIN to sign the tax returns
  • Form 8453-EMP - Manually sign the Form 8453-EMP, Employment Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file ReturnPDF, scan it and save as a PDF file. Your transmitter will attach this PDF file to the electronically filed return. There are no PINs involved in this option.

The 94x on-line filer may buy IRS-approved software available through a 94x Modernized e-File (MeF) provider. Use the software to send your return to an authorized provider who e-files 94x returns. There are three signature options for you (online signature PIN, practitioner PIN and Form 8453-EMP). Some providers do not offer all signature options. Choose a provider that offers the signature option you prefer.

No. The Form 94x on-line signature PIN is used to identify the IRS authorized signer and not your provider.

No. If you already have a 10-digit PIN from the old system, you would not need to reapply for a new PIN. You would only need to reapply for a new PIN if the name of the IRS authorized signer, EIN or name of the business has changed. Before you reapply, you must first contact the E-help Desk at 866-255-0654 in order to deactivate your existing PIN.

Yes, 94x MeF has a practitioner PIN option. Form 8879-EMPPDF is available for signature and retention by the practitioner who will then submit the return using the practitioner's PIN. This is one of the new options for the signature methods for electronically filing employment tax returns.

A reporting agent originates the electronic submission of certain returns for its clients, and/or transmits the returns to the IRS. A reporting agent is an accounting service, franchiser, bank or other person who complies with Revenue Procedure 2012-32 and is authorized to prepare and sign employment tax returns electronically for a taxpayer. Reporting agents may transmit their own returns, or may use the services of a third-party transmitter.

To participate in MeF for employment taxes, prospective participants must first complete and submit an IRS e-file application. You must complete the IRS e-file application online after registering for e-services. Additional guidance can be found in Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and ParticipationPDF. Follow the instructions provided to complete your application.

A reporting agent must complete Form 8655, Reporting Agent AuthorizationPDF, for each client for whom a return is filed. Reporting agents must submit Form 8655 to the IRS prior to or at the same time that they submit an IRS e-file application. Further instructions can be found in Publication 1474, Technical Specifications Guide for Reporting Agent Authorization and Federal DepositorsPDF.

If you have questions, or require assistance completing the IRS e-file application, phone 866-255-0654 (toll-free).

B94x returns filed through Modernized e-File for employment taxes have the following due dates:

Form Due Date
Form 940/940-PR, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return January 31, of the following year.
If all taxes have been paid in full, the return due date is extended by ten days (February 10).
Form 941/941-PR/941-SS, Employer’s QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return If all taxes have been paid in full, the return due date is extended by ten days.
First quarter ending March 31 is due April 30, May 10 = (extended due date)
Second quarter ending June 30th is due July 31, August 10 = (extended due date)
Third quarter ending September 30 is due October 31, November 10 = (extended due date)
Fourth quarter ending December 31 is due January 31, February 10 = (extended due date)
Form 943/943-PR, Employer's Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees January 31, of the following year.
If all taxes have been paid in full, the return due date is extended by ten days (February 10).
Form 944, Employer’s ANNUAL Federal Tax Return January 31, of the following year.
If all taxes have been paid in full, the return due date is extended by ten days to (February 10).
Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax January 31, of the following year.
If all taxes have been paid in full, the return due date is extended by ten days to (February 10).

Yes. Electronic payments can be made through the (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), which is a completely separate system. EFTPS is available for individuals and businesses to make all their federal tax payments electronically. Individuals and/or businesses interested in the EFTPS program must enroll prior to participation. Visit eftps.gov for more information.

You may electronically file your federal tax return and at the same time submit an electronic funds withdrawal (EFW) payment request. However, do not use EFW to make Federal Tax Deposits. Remember when making an EFW, the same rules apply for making Federal tax deposits for your employment tax returns. Visit Pay taxes by electronic funds withdrawal for more information.

Software requirement information is available on the Modernized e-File (MeF) Program information page and Modernized e-File (MeF) user guides & publications page.

IRS requires software to support returns received and processed through Modernized e-File (MeF) be transmitted in an XML (Extensible Markup Language) format. An IRS 94x Schema is used for this purpose. To view the current version of the IRS 94x XML schemas visit Schemas and business rules for 94x Modernized e-File (MeF) forms.

  • Option 1 – Authorize a reporting agent to prepare, sign and e-file all 94x series of returns for you.
  • Option 2 – Become an authorized e-file provider by completing the IRS e-file application and choosing the provider role(s) that meet the needs of your business.

For complete guidelines, refer to Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and ParticipationPDF and Revenue Procedure 2007-40.

Yes. You will need to obtain a new test electronic transmitter identification number (ETIN) to continue testing, because the IRS moves the original ETIN to Production status once the communications test is passed. Call the E-help Desk toll-free at 866-255-0654 to obtain a new test ETIN. For complete guidelines, refer to Publication 5078, Modernized e-File (MeF) Test PackagePDF.

Software companies use transmitters to send in their returns. Most send in their own transmissions. The software package is assigned a software ID by the E-Help Desk assistors. If the third party changes their software, they will then need to test and get another software ID. Call the E-help Desk at 866-255-0654 (toll-free) for assistance.

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