How Do I Apply for Professional Employer Organization Certification?
CPEO applicants must complete an application through the IRS Online Registration System. Both the CPEO applicant and its responsible individuals must complete portions of the application. A “responsible individual” is generally an individual who (1) owns at least 33 percent of the CPEO applicant, (2) is a director, officer, managing member, or sole proprietor of the CPEO applicant; or (3) controls, manages, or supervises the CPEO applicant, its operations, finances, or federal employment tax compliance. See the proposed regulations for the full definition of "responsible individual."
The portions of the application that relate to the CPEO applicant must be completed and submitted under penalty of perjury by the CPEO applicant’s designated application submitter. Any responsible individual who is legally authorized to receive the CPEO applicant’s return information is authorized to serve as the application submitter.
Background and suitability checks will be conducted on all responsible individuals. Each responsible individual needs to submit fingerprint cards for the criminal background check to be conducted. The fingerprint cards used for the CPEO program are unique and can only be obtained via an email request sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and putting CPEO FINGERPRINT in the subject line. If you are requesting cards for multiple responsible individuals, please provide the number of individuals in your email request. Fingerprint cards will be mailed to the requestor. Fingerprints must be taken by a trained specialist (i.e. police department, sheriff’s office), and mailed back to the IRS address in the instructions. Photocopies of fingerprint cards are not acceptable.
The sequence for completing an application for certification is:
- Individual Identity Verification
- Responsible Individual Personal Attestation (RIPA)
- CPEO Application
The user fee for Professional Employer Organization certification is $1,000.00. You will be prompted to pay this fee from the online system.
Use the links below to learn more about topic or sequence of the application process.
After you have submitted the information requested for each sequence, you will be notified via the online system that the submission is complete and you will be offered a one-time opportunity to print a summary of that information for your records.