EFIN, or Electronic Filing Identification Number, is an integral part of the professional tax landscape, specifically for those who handle electronic tax submissions. EFIN for CPAs, EAs let IRS know who prepared and filed the tax return on behalf of a taxpayer. This article explores what an Electronic Filing Identification Number is, who requires one, how to apply, and the process of EFIN verification.
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What is an EFIN?
The Electronic Filing Identification Number is a unique identifier issued by the IRS) to individuals or firms authorized to file tax returns electronically on behalf of clients. This unique identifier is key to the IRS’s security measures, ensuring that only qualified and authorized entities submit electronic tax returns.
Why is an Electronic Filing Identification Number Required?
The IRS made Electronic Filing Identification Number mandatory for any tax professional who prepares and electronically files 11 or more tax returns, including income tax returns, amended returns, and extensions. This requirement is in place to enhance the security of tax return filing and ensure the submitted information’s accuracy and reliability.
An Electronic Filing Identification Number speeds up the filing process, enabling tax professionals to directly and securely submit tax return information to the IRS. It’s an integral part of modern tax services, providing faster responses and quicker refunds for clients.
Who Must Apply for an Electronic Filing Identification Number?
Any tax professional or firm planning to file eleven or more tax returns, extensions, or amendments electronically in a calendar year should apply for an EFIN. This includes Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), Enrolled Agents (EAs), tax attorneys, and other tax preparers.
How to Apply for an Electronic Filing Identification Number?
Before applying for an EFIN, you must create an IRS e-Services account. This online platform is where the IRS manages applications and existing EFINs.
The application process is pretty straightforward but does involve several steps. It includes providing personal and business information, passing a suitability check (which requires fingerprinting, a background check, and tax compliance verification), and completing the IRS’s e-file Provider Application.
Once the application is complete, it’s submitted online via the IRS e-Services portal. After submission, it generally takes about 45 days for the IRS to process the application and issue an Electronic Filing Identification Number.
How to Know the EFIN Status?
Electronic Filing Identification Number verification is an essential step in the process. Once you’ve been issued an EFIN, you can verify its status through the IRS e-Services portal. This step ensures that your Electronic Filing Identification Number is active and ready for use.
To verify your Electronic Filing Identification Number, log into your IRS e-Services account, select your organization, and click “EFIN Status” in the EFIN application. The current status of your EFIN will be displayed there.
Remember, the IRS will never ask for Electronic Filing Identification Number-related information via email or phone. Always use the secure IRS e-Services portal for all your Electronic Filing Identification Number needs.
We have also published an article on another identification number that is mandatory for certain types of taxpayers. Read What is ITIN?
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