Software Developers Technical Fact Sheet


Modernized e-file for Employment Taxes


Software Developers develop software to format returns according to the IRS’s electronic return specifications. Software may be designed for use by Electronic Return Originators, Reporting Agents, or Taxpayers.

Participating in Modernized e-file for Employment Taxes

In order to participate in the Modernized e-file Employment Tax Program, 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. Follow the instructions provided to complete your application.

If you have questions, or require assistance completing the IRS e-file application, call the e-help Desk at 1-866-255-0654 (toll-free) Monday - Friday between the hours of 6:30 AM - 6:00 PM Central Time.

Software Development

Forms 940, 940-PR, 941, 941-PR, 941-SS, 943, 943-PR, 944 and 945 transmitted via the Modernized e-File System must be in the Extensible Markup Language (XML) format. 

The Schemas and Business Rules for 94x Modernized e-File (MeF) Forms 940, 940-PR, 941, 941-PR, 941-SS, 943, 943-PR, 944 and 945 and other pertinent information for developing software for the Modernized e-file Employment Tax Program are updated as needed.  Use the most current Schema and Business Rule information for production return filing and for assurance testing.

Software Specifications

Software specifications and related information can be found on the Modernized e-File (MeF) Program Information page. The Modernized e-File (MeF) User Guide & Publications provides other useful information. Refer to Publication 4163, Modernized e-File (MeF) Information for Authorized IRS e-file Providers for Business Returns, and Publication 4164, Modernized e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers and Transmitters, for details on how to get started.

Testing Software Packages

To test a software package you should review Publication 5078, Modernized e-File (MeF) Test Package for Business Submissions. Before you can begin testing, you must obtain an Electronic Transmitter Identification Number (ETIN) through the e-file application process. Once you are ready to test, call the e-help Desk at 1-866-255-0654. An e-help Desk assistor will assist you will all preparations needed to begin testing, including the assignment of a Software ID to submit returns. You will need a separate Software ID for each tax year and each tax package you support.

Modernized e-File (MeF) Program Information