How to Identify an IRS-Authorized E-file Provider
The security of the data you file with an e-Filing provider must be secured and it is of utmost importance to make sure that you are working with an IRS-authorized e-File provider to be assured that the data you share will not be mishandled.
So how can you do that?
There are certain indicators that tell that you are working with an IRS-Authorized e-file provider and there is no reason to worry about the security of the data you share with them.
The Stamp of Approval
To be granted the “stamp of approval” from the IRS, a tax-filing business has to go through a rigorous three-step process,
IRS e-Services Account Creation
An IRS account is required before a business is allowed to submit an e-file application, to allow electronic interaction with the IRS. This process requires one to provide certain identification details (Social Security number and phone number). The person creating an initial account must also ensure that every principal and responsible staffer in the business is able to sign up for e-services. Furthermore, this point person should confirm registration within 28 days upon receipt of the IRS confirmation code in the mail. Typically, the verification and approval process for account creation takes several days.
IRS e-Services Account Creation
Business application can only be done once all essential people are approved for e-services.
To quote the IRS website:
“The application process is not simple, but as a tax professional, you understand these steps are necessary to protect the integrity and security of the electronic filing system. We all have a stake in maintaining the highest standards for e-file providers.”
The application is a comprehensive process and can take up to 45 days to get the approval of the IRS. In line with that, the interested provider must be able to:
- Provide business identification information
- Supply information about each principal and responsible official involved in the business
- Select the e-file provider option
- Provide current professional status information (applicable when the principal or responsible official is certified or licensed)
- Provide fingerprints of other individuals through a special IRS fingerprint card. Fingerprints must also be captured by a trained professional.
Pass a Suitability Check
Once the business application and related documents has been submitted. The IRS can now conduct a suitability check on the organization and each individual identified on the application as a principal or responsible employer. Suitability check may include:
- Credit check
- Tax compliance check
- Criminal background check
- Check for prior noncompliance with IRS e-file requirements
A business receives an acceptance letter from the IRS with its Electronic Filing Identification Number, or EFIN upon the approval of application. This means that a business can start offering secure and cost-effective e-Filing services–fully backed by the IRS, as alternatives to paper filing.
There are certifications that indicate that you are in good hands. e-Filing providers that are certified will keep you free from worries. These certifications should serve as your guide in choosing the e-Filing provider to trust.
Below are some of the examples of certifications that you must check in a website before doing any transaction with them: