As a tax professional, it’s important to clearly understand your Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) and application summary. Your EFIN is a unique number that identifies your business as an authorized e-file provider with the IRS. It’s essential to have an EFIN if you plan to file tax returns electronically for your clients.
In this article, we will explore the importance of EFIN numbers and application summaries and provide you with the information you need to know to ensure that your application is processed efficiently and accurately.
You’ll discover how to apply for an EFIN, what information you need to provide, and how to review your application summary to ensure that all the information is correct. By the end of this article, you’ll clearly understand EFIN numbers and application summaries and be ready to file tax returns electronically for your clients with confidence.
What is an EFIN Number?
An EFIN or Electronic Filing Identification Number is a unique identifier assigned by the Internal Revenue Service to authorized tax professionals such as tax preparers, enrolled agents and certified public accountants (CPAs) who participate in the IRS e-file program.
The purpose of EFINs is to facilitate the electronic filing of tax returns, which is the preferred method of submitting tax returns to the IRS. EFINs help keep track of authorized tax professionals for tax purposes and are necessary to protect against fraudulent filings.
EFINs are used to identify authorized tax professionals who have been properly screened and approved by the IRS, and are authorized to file tax returns on behalf of their clients electronically. These professionals have undergone background checks and demonstrated their proficiency in tax preparation before being given an EFIN.
The IRS places a significant emphasis on the importance of protecting taxpayer’s personal data, and EFINs are one of the measures taken to maintain the security of electronic tax return filings.
Overall, EFINs play an important role in ensuring the accuracy and security of electronic tax returns filed with the IRS.
EFIN vs. PTIN
EFINs and PTINs are two identification numbers required by different parties involved in tax preparation. The EFIN, or Electronic Filing Identification Number, is issued by the IRS to tax professionals who E-file client tax returns. It serves as a unique identifier and is necessary for a tax professional to file tax returns electronically.
On the other hand, the PTIN, or Preparer Tax Identification Number, is also issued by the IRS but is mandatory for anyone who prepares or assists in preparing federal tax returns for compensation. The PTIN is used primarily for identification purposes and helps the IRS track and regulate the tax preparer’s activities.
While both identification numbers are important for tax professionals, their usage and function differ greatly. In short, the EFIN is required for the electronic submission of a tax return, while the PTIN is necessary for all tax preparers to prepare and file tax returns legally.
How to Obtain an EFIN
To apply for an EFIN through the IRS e-Services website, tax professionals are required to complete several steps. First, they need to create an account and verify their identity. Then, they must fill out the e-File Application and attach the necessary documents. These include a PTIN, a state tax ID number, and business information such as Articles of Incorporation.
Additionally, applicants must pass an FBI criminal background check and complete fingerprinting. The approval process can take up to 45 days, during which the IRS will review the application and notify the applicant via email.
Once approved, the EFIN is valid for one calendar year, and tax professionals must renew it annually. Obtaining an EFIN is crucial for tax professionals who want to file tax returns electronically, and it is essential to meet all the requirements and submit all necessary documents accurately and on time for a successful application.
EFIN Renewal and Maintenance
To renew and update your EFIN information, you must complete the application process annually and provide your current contact, credentials, and professional information. Moreover, you must satisfy the latest regulatory requirements and pass the suitability check to keep your EFIN active.
The renewal process typically opens in November and must be completed before the next tax season. As such, it is paramount to prioritize renewing and maintaining your EFIN information to ensure that you can serve your clients efficiently and lawfully.
Understanding the Application Summary
The process of obtaining an EFIN from the IRS is crucial for tax professionals who want to file taxes on behalf of their clients electronically. One of the essential components of the EFIN application process is the application summary, which provides a detailed overview of the application.
Application statuses refer to the different stages an application goes through in the evaluation and decision-making process. The most common application statuses are: submitted, in-review, approved, denied, and waitlisted. The submitted status means that the recipient has successfully delivered and received the application.
The in-review status indicates that the application is being evaluated, and usually takes the longest time frame in the application process. The duration of the in-review status usually varies depending on the complexity of the evaluation process and the volume of applications received. The approved status denotes that the application has met all requirements and has been granted the desired benefit/program.
The denied status signifies that the application has been rejected or denied for various reasons, such as non-compliance with instructions, invalid criteria, or insufficient qualifications. Lastly, the waitlisted status means that the applicant has been placed on a waiting list, and may still have a chance to be approved if any openings become available.
Applicants can typically check the status of their application through an online portal, via email communication, or via phone. The typical time frame for each application status varies depending on the type of application and the requirements of the program.
However, in most cases, applicants can expect to receive a response within 2-4 weeks from submitting the application.
Common Issues and Solutions
There needs to be documentation, such as a Social Security card or a government-issued ID, to ensure the application process is successful. Another issue is the delay in background checks, which can prolong the review and approval process of the EFIN application.
Additionally, there may be instances where the application status could be clearer, leading to uncertainty and frustration for the applicant. Solutions for resolving these issues include ensuring all necessary documentation is collected and submitted before beginning the application process, checking with the relevant parties to determine the approximate length of background checks, and regularly checking the IRS e-Services website for updates on application status.
Contacting the IRS for Assistance
If you’re a tax preparer or an authorized e-file provider and you have concerns related to your Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN), you can reach out to the IRS e-help Desk for assistance. You can contact the e-help Desk through phone or email; they’re available Mondays to Fridays from 7:30 am to 7 pm CST.
The e-help Desk can help you with a variety of concerns, including EFIN problems, enrollment issues, e-file transmission problems, and more. Additionally, you can also access other resources to help you with your EFIN-related concerns, such as the e-Services online platform or IRS.gov.
It’s important to address any EFIN-related problems immediately to ensure you can continue providing efficient and quality tax preparation services to your clients.
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