Before you can electronically file tax returns, you must apply to become an Authorized e-file provider with the IRS. Applications to become an IRS e-file provider are prepared and submitted online only in three easy steps:
Step 1: Create an IRS e-services Account - Before you can begin the application process, you must apply and be approved for an e-services account with the IRS. The IRS may take several days to verify and approve your information, so it is important to plan accordingly.
Note: In your application you are asked what kind of service you will provide. If you are going to prepare original returns for taxpayers and electronically file them, choose ERO ("Electronic Return Originator"). Do not choose "Online Provider".
Step 2: Submit Your Application - After you are approved for e-services, you will be able to log into your account to fill out the online application to become an IRS e-file provider. Plan accordingly as it may take up to 45 days for the IRS to approve an Authorized e-file Provider application.
Get electronically fingerprinted, if needed If the principal or responsible official is certified or licensed, such as an attorney, CPA or enrolled agent, they must enter their current professional status information. All other individuals will need to be fingerprinted.
The IRS recently transitioned to a new electronic fingerprinting process. Applicants must schedule an appointment with the IRS-authorized vendor for fingerprinting. The scheduling link is located on the e-file application summary page. There is no charge for this service.
Step 3: Pass a Suitability Check - After you submit your application and any related documents, the IRS will conduct a suitability check on the firm and each person listed on your application as either a principal or responsible official. This may include: a credit check; a tax compliance check; a criminal background check; and a check for prior non-compliance with IRS e-file requirements. Once approved, you will get an acceptance letter from the IRS with your Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN).
The entire application process can take 4-6 weeks to complete.
IRS: Become an Authorized e-file Provider
IRS: Frequently Asked Questions about EFINs
IRS: Frequently Asked Questions about e-Services and Secure Access
IRS e-Help Desk: 1.866.255.0654 (international: 512.416.7750), M-F 6:30 am - 6:00 pm (CST)