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Modernized e-File (MeF) for Employment Taxes - Frequently Asked Questions

What: What is Modernized e-File (MeF) for Employment Taxes?
Who: Who Can Participate in MeF for Employment Taxes?
Why: What are the Benefits of MeF for Employment Taxes?
How: What are the General Requirements to Participate in MeF for Employment Taxes?
Info: How can I get more information?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What types of Form 940/940-PR attachments are accepted into MeF for Employment Taxes?
What types of Form 941/941-PR/941-SS attachments are accepted into MeF for Employment Taxes?
What types of Form 943/943-PR attachments are accepted into MeF for Employment Taxes?
What types of Form 944 attachments are accepted into MeF for Employment Taxes?
What types of Form 945 attachments are accepted into MeF for Employment Taxes?
Will MeF support amended employment tax returns?
Can I link and file my state and federal employment taxes using MeF?
How do I sign my return?
If I am an IRS Authorized signer and I change providers, do I need a new Personal Identification number (PIN)?
As an IRS Authorized Signer, do I need a new PIN for Modernized e-File for Employment Taxes if I had a PIN under the old system?
Will 94x MeF include a Practitioner PIN option?
What is a Reporting Agent and what are the Reporting Agent requirements?
When are MeF for Employment Tax returns due?
Can MeF for Employment Tax users make electronic payments using EFTPS?
Where can I find a list of providers?
Where are the Software Requirements for MeF for Employment Taxes?
I am new to e-file and want to be a provider. How do I get started?
Will I be able to file Employment Tax returns and test Employment Tax returns at the same time?
What is the maximum number of submissions that can be submitted in a single transaction?
If our company uses third party software, does the third party hold the certification, or does each service provider who uses the software have to certify?


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:
 

Form 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return
Form 940-PR, Planilla para la Declaración Federal Anual del Patrono de la Contribución Federal Para el Desempleo (FUTA)
Form 941, Employer’s QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return
Form 941-PR, Planilla para la Declaración Federal TRIMESTRAL del Patrono
Form 941-SS, Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return - American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Form 943, Employer's Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees
Form 943-PR, Planilla para la Declaración Anual de la Contribución Federal del Patrono de Empleados Agricolas
Form 944, Employer’s ANNUAL Federal Tax Return
Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax

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Who can participate:

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 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.
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:
Revenue Procedure 2007-40, Authorized IRS e-file Provider Responsibilities
Publication 3112, The IRS e-file Application Package
Publication 1474, Technical Specifications Guide for Reporting Agent Authorization and Federal Depositors
Publication 4163, Modernized e-File (MeF) Information for Authorized IRS e-file Providers for Business Returns
Publication 4164, Modernized e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers and Transmitters
Modernized e-File (MeF) Program Information

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Why:

What are the benefits of MeF 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.

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How:

What are the general requirements to participate in MeF for Employment Taxes?
 

Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and Participation
Revenue Procedure 2007-40, Authorized IRS e-file Provider Responsibilities
Publication 4163, Modernized e-File (MeF) Information for Authorized IRS e-file Providers for Business Returns
Publication 4164, Modernized e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers and Transmitters
Publication 15 (Circular E), Employer’s Tax Guide
Revenue Procedure 2012-32, Requirements for Completing and Submitting Form 8655, Reporting Agent Authorization
Publication 1474, Technical Specification Guide for Reporting Agent Authorization and Federal Tax Depositors

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 3112 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 1474 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:
Publication 3112, The IRS e-file Application Package
Publication 4163, Modernized e-File (MeF) Information for Authorized IRS e-file Providers for Business Returns
Publication 4164, Modernized e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers and Transmitters
Publication 5078, Modernized e-File (MeF) Test Package Business Submissions
Publication 1474, Technical Specification Guide for Reporting Agent Authorization and Federal Tax Depositors

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INFO:

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 (FAQs):

What types of Form 940/940-PR attachments are accepted into the MeF for Employment Taxes?

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

Schedule A (Form 940),  Multi-State Employer and Credit Reduction Information
Schedule R (Form 940), Allocation Schedule for Aggregate Form 940 Filers
Form 8453-EMP, Employment Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return
• Supporting statements such as the Final Payroll Statement  

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.
 


What types of Form 941/941-PR/941-SS attachments are accepted into MeF for Employment Taxes?

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

Schedule B (Form 941), Report of Tax Liability for Semiweekly Schedule Depositors
Schedule B (Form 941-PR), Registro de la Obligación Contributiva para los Depositantes de Itenerario Bisemanal
Schedule D (Form 941), Report of Discrepancies Caused by Acquisitions, Statutory Mergers, or Consolidations
Schedule R (Form 941), Allocation Schedule for Aggregate Form 941 Filers
Form 8453-EMP, Employment Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return
• Supporting statements such as the Final Payroll Statement and Transfer of Business Statement

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.
 


What types of Form 943/943-PR attachments are accepted into the MeF for Employment Taxes?

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

Form 943-A, Agricultural Employer's Record of Federal Tax Liability
Form 8453-EMP, Employment Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return

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.
 


What types of Form 944 attachments are accepted into the MeF for Employment Taxes?

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

Form 945-A, Annual Record of Federal Tax Liability
Schedule D (Form 941), Report of Discrepancies Caused by Acquisitions, Statutory Mergers, or Consolidations
Form 8453-EMP, Employment Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return
• Supporting statements such as the Final Payroll Statement and Transfer of Business Statement

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.
 


What types of Form 945 attachments are accepted into the MeF for Employment Taxes?

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

Form 945-A, Annual Record of Federal Tax Liability
Form 8453-EMP, Employment Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return

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.
 


Will MeF support amended employment tax returns?

No. MeF will not support 94x amended returns. See Correcting Employment Tax Returns for more information.
 


Can I link and file my state and federal employment taxes using MeF?

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


How do I sign my return?

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 Authorization, 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 Return, 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.
 


If I am an IRS Authorized Signer and I change providers, do I need a new Personal Identification Number (PIN)?

No. The Form 94x On-Line Signature PIN is used to identify the IRS Authorized Signer and not your provider.
 


As an IRS Authorized Signer, do I need a new Form 94x On-Line Signature PIN for Modernized e-File for Employment Taxes if I had a PIN under the old system (LOA PIN)?

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 1-866-255-0654 in order to deactivate your existing PIN.
 


Will 94x MeF include a Practitioner PIN option?

Yes, 94x MeF has a Practitioner PIN option. Form 8879-EMP 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.
 


What is a Reporting Agent and what are the Reporting Agent requirements?

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 (Rev. Proc.) 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 Participation. Follow the instructions provided to complete your application.

A Reporting Agent must complete Form 8655, Reporting Agent Authorization, 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 Depositors.

If you have questions, or require assistance completing the IRS e-file application, phone 1-866-255-0654 (toll-free).
 


When Are Returns Due?

94x 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 31st, of the following year.
If all taxes have been paid in full, the return due date is extended by ten days (February 10th).
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 31st is due April 30th, May 10th = (extended due date)
Second quarter ending June 30th is due July 31st, August 10th = (extended due date)
Third quarter ending September 30th is due October 31st, November 10th = (extended due date)
Fourth quarter ending December 31st is due January 31st, February 10th = (extended due date)
Form 943/943-PR, Employer's Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees January 31st, of the following year.
If all taxes have been paid in full, the return due date is extended by ten days (February 10th).
Form 944, Employer’s ANNUAL Federal Tax Return January 31st, of the following year.
If all taxes have been paid in full, the return due date is extended by ten days to (February 10th).
Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax January 31st, of the following year.
If all taxes have been paid in full, the return due date is extended by ten days to (February 10th).

Return to FAQs


Can MeF for Employment Tax users make electronic payments?

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.
 


Where Can I find a list of Providers?

Visit the Approved IRS e-file for Business Providers page.
 


Where are the Software Requirements for MeF for Employment Taxes?

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.
 


I am new to e-file and want to be a provider. How do I get started?
 

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 Participation and Revenue Procedure 2007-40.
 


Will I be able to file Employment Tax returns and test Employment Tax returns at the same time?

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 Package.
 


What is the maximum number of submissions that can be submitted in a single transaction?

Up to 100 submissions may be submitted per transaction.
 


If our company uses third party software, does the third party hold the certification, or does each service provider who uses the software have to certify?

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 for assistance.