The Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) is your key to better serving your clients and meeting federal requirements for electronic filing of tax returns. Once you complete the e-file application process and receive your EFIN, you must keep your information up-to-date and protect it from theft.
Tax professionals seeking to become Authorized IRS e-File Provider must review Publication 3112 for details about the application process and requirements. You are responsibility for maintaining, monitoring and protecting your EFIN and e-Services account.
Maintaining your EFIN
Once you have completed the EFIN application process and received your EFIN, it is important that you keep your account up-to-date at all times. This includes:
- Review your e-File application periodically. Your e-file application must be updated within 30days of any changes such as individuals involved, addresses or telephone numbers. Failure to do so may result in the inactivation of your EFIN.
- Ensure proper individuals are identified on the application, and update as necessary. The principal listed on the application is the individual authorized to act for the business in any legal or tax matters. Periodically accessing your account.
- Adding any new principals or responsible officials
- Updating any business address changes, including the adding new locations.
- Your EFIN is not transferable; if you sell your businesses, the new principals must obtain their own EFIN
- There must be an EFIN application for each office location; if you expand your business, an application is required for each location where e-file transmissions will occur.
Monitoring your EFIN
Help safeguard your EFIN. During the filing season, check on your EFIN status to ensure that it is not being used by others. Your e-Services account will give you the number of returns the IRS received, which you can match to your records. The statistics are updated weekly. Please contact the IRS e-help Desk at 866-255-0654 if you see a significantly higher volume than you transmitted.
Once you have logged into your e-Services account, follow these steps to verify the number of returns electronically filed with the IRS:
- Select your name,
- In the left banner, select ‘Application’,
- In the left banner, select ‘e-File Application’,
- Select your name again,
- In the listing, select ‘EFIN Status’ and on this screen you can see the number of returns filed based on return type.
Protecting your EFIN
Increasingly, identity thieves are targeting tax professionals in an effort to gain access to client data or other sensitive information. A common scam involves efforts by criminals to steal the tax professional’s e-Service account password and EFIN, sometimes posing as the IRS or e-Services. See Identity Theft Information for Tax Professionals. Here are some steps you can take:
- Learn to recognize and avoid phishing scams; do not open links or attachments from suspicious emails, most data thefts begin with a phishing email,
- Secure your devices with security software and let it automatically update,
- Use strong passwords of 10 or more mixed characters; password protect all wireless devices.
- Encrypt all sensitive files/emails and use strong password protections.
- Backup sensitive data to a safe and secure external source not connected fulltime to your network.
- Wipe clean or destroy old computer hard drives that contain sensitive data.
- Create a data security plan; see Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data.
Please note: The IRS continuously reviews EFINs and takes the necessary actions to inactivate any EFINs that are found to be compromised by an un-authorized firm or individual and is using the EFIN to e-file returns. The firm using the invalid EFIN will encounter Business Rule 905 when they e-file returns. The firm must call the e-help Desk at 1-866-255-0654 to request a new EFIN.
Maintain Contact with the IRS
All authorized IRS e-file providers should maintain contact with the IRS to learn of e-file updates. E-Service users can subscribe to Quick Alerts. Tax practitioners also can sign up for e-News for Tax Professionals or e-News for Payroll Professionals.
Please note: Cybercriminals often pose at the IRS or the “e-Service Help Desk” and/or create fake e-Services web pages to steal users’ passwords. One reason the IRS e-Services is moving to the two-factor, identity proofing process called Secure Access is to help prevent account takeovers. Don’t become a victim. If an email asks you to update your account, come directly to the e-Services landing page. If you haven’t yet registered through Secure Access, please do so immediately.