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Requirements (Updated 11/23/2016)

In fulfilling the requirements of an Authorized IRS e-file Provider (Provider) participating in IRS e-file, Transmitters must:

  1. Transmit all electronic portions of returns to the appropriate IRS center within three calendar days of receipt; Note: This requirement does not apply when the IRS is not accepting specific returns, forms, or schedules until a date later than the start-up of IRS e-file due to constraints such as late legislation, programming issues and controlled validation activities, etc. Controlled validation activities are when the IRS provides special instructions to Transmitters relating to the submission of certain returns.
  2. Retrieve the acknowledgment file within two work days of transmission;
  3. Match the acknowledgment file to the original transmission file and send the acknowledgment file containing all conditions on accepted returns, including non-receipt of Personal Identification Number (PIN), etc., to the Electronic Return Originator (ERO) or Intermediate Service Provider within two work days of retrieving the acknowledgment file;
  4. Retain an acknowledgment file received from the IRS until the end of the calendar year in which the electronic return was filed;
  5. Immediately contact the IRS at its e-help number, 866-255-0654, for further instructions if an acknowledgment of acceptance for processing has not been received within two work days of transmission or if an acknowledgment for a return that was not transmitted on the designated transmission is received;
  6. Forward the following ACA 1502(c) message back to the taxpayer beginning Filing Season 2017 if Business Rule Alert IND-068 is set:  "If you need health coverage, visit to learn about health insurance options that are available for you and your family, how to purchase health insurance, and how you might qualify to get financial assistance with the cost of insurance.";
  7. Promptly correct any transmission error that causes an electronic transmission to be rejected;
  8. Contact the IRS at its e-help number, 866-255-0654, for assistance if the electronic portion of the return has been rejected after three transmission attempts;
  9. Ensure the security of all transmitted data;
  10. Ensure against the unauthorized use of its Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) or Electronic Transmitter Identification Number (ETIN). A Transmitter must not transfer its EFIN or ETIN by sale, merger, loan, gift or otherwise to another entity; and
  11. Use only software that does not have an IRS assigned production password built into the software.
  12. Provide the Device IDs from the equipment used to prepare the return.
  13. Providers who collectively transmit more than 2,000 individual income tax returns per year are required to perform analysis to identity potential identity-theft fraud patterns and schemes. They must provide the results relative to any indicators of such fraud to the IRS on a weekly basis, in accordance with requirements that will be distributed to providers.

Additional Requirements for Transmitters Participating in Online Filing

In addition to requirements of all Transmitters in the IRS e-file Program, a Transmitter that participates in Online Filing has some additional responsibilities.

When participating in Online Filing, the Transmitter must:

  1. Ensure that it includes their assigned Online Filing EFIN, which begins with 10, 21, 32, 44 or 53, in the appropriate field in the electronic return data;
  2. Ensure that the Intermediate Service Provider's EFIN is included in the electronic return data, when applicable;
  3. Include the assigned Submission ID in the transmission of the electronic return data to the IRS;
  4. Notify the taxpayer of the status of a return by sending an electronic transmission to the taxpayer or the Intermediate Service Provider, when applicable, within two work days of retrieving the acknowledgment file from the IRS or by mailing a written notification to the taxpayer within one work day of retrieving the acknowledgment file;
  5. Ensure that it does not transmit or accept for transmission more than five electronic returns originating from one software package or from one e-mail address;
  6. Provide the Internet Protocol (IP) information (public/routable source IP Address, source TCP port number and IP Timestamp of the computer the taxpayer uses to submit the return);
  7. Enter into agreements with companies to allow access to Online Filing only if companies correctly capture the public/routable source IP Address and source TCP port number of the computer submitting the return and the timestamp of the computer receiving it;
  8. Include "Online Filer" in the "Originator Type" field of the Trans Record "A".

The Transmitter must notify the taxpayer of the following if the IRS accepts the electronic portion of a taxpayer’s return:

  • The date the transmission was accepted;
  • The Submission ID (SID):
  • The requirement to properly complete and timely submit a Form 8453, if required, with accompanying paper documents;
  • The appropriate submission processing center’s address to which Form 8453 with accompanying paper documents, if required, must be sent;
  • That the IRS must receive a Form 8453, if required, before an Online filed return is complete.

The Transmitter must notify the taxpayer of the following if the IRS rejects the electronic portion of a taxpayer’s return:

  • That the IRS rejected the electronic portion of the taxpayer’s return:
  • The date of the rejection;
  • What the business rule(s) means;
  • What steps the taxpayer needs to take to correct the errors that caused the rejection; and
  • That if the taxpayer chooses not to have the electronic portion of the return corrected and transmitted to the IRS, or, if the IRS cannot accept the electronic portion of the return for processing by the IRS, the taxpayer must file a paper return. In order to timely file a paper return, the taxpayer must file it by the later of the due date of the return or ten calendar days after the date the IRS gives notification that it has rejected the electronic portion of the return or that it cannot accept the return for processing. Taxpayers should include an explanation as to why they are filing the paper return after the due date.

A Transmitter that receives returns from an Intermediate Service Provider for Online Filing must adhere to the same requirements as a Transmitter that transmits ERO returns received from Intermediate Service Providers.

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