The Electronic Return Originator (ERO) is the Authorized IRS e-file Provider who originates the electronic submission of a return to the IRS. The ERO is usually the first point of contact for most taxpayers filing a return using the IRS e-file system.
Step 1: Create an IRS e-Services Account
Before you begin the online e-file application, you must have an IRS e-Services account, which facilitates electronic interaction with the IRS. All e-Services users must register using a two-factor authentication process called Secure Access. Here's what you need to get started:
Your Social Security number (SSN); or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)
Your filing status and address from your last-filed tax return;
One financial account number linked to your name:
credit card last 8 digits (no American Express, debit or corporate cards) or
student loan – (Enter the student loan account number provided on your statement. The account number may contain both numbers and letters. Do not include any symbols.) Additionally, we can't verify student loans issued by Nelnet. or
a home mortgage loan, home equity loan or
home equity line of credit (HELOC), or
NOTE: Pull your updated (Within 30-days) 3 bureau credit reports and scores directly from the credit bureaus prior to beginning the application. The IRS will use information that is currently reporting to your Experian credit report. The best resources to acquire your credit reports directly from the credit bureaus are AnnualCreditReport.com, Experian.com, or CreditCheckTotal.com. Third-party providers like CreditKarma or Identity IQ are not good sources for the most accurate information in your credit file.
A readily available mobile device. NOTE: You must have a smartphone connected to a national service e.g., MetroPCS, T-Mobile, SPRINT, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless. Service providers such as Cricket Wireless, Boost Mobile, Mint Mobile, Visible, Google Fi, and Google Voice will NOT work for this process.
For instant access, your name must be associated with the U.S-based mobile phone capable of receiving text messages. If the mobile number cannot be linked to your name, you may opt for a mailed activation code during registration. Allow 14 - 30-days to receive your code by mail.
Before starting the identity proofing process, you should review Secure Access: How to Register for Certain Online Self-Help Tools to learn what you will need to complete the process and how the process will work. You should also review FAQs: e-Services and Secure Access.
Step 2: Submit Your Application to Become an Authorized IRS e-file Provider
Once essential people are approved for e-Services, your firm can begin the application to become an authorized e-file provider.
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.
Because the application is so comprehensive, it is designed so that you can save your data from a session, close it out, and return to it when convenient.
Another caution about time: It can take up to 45 days for the IRS to approve an e-file application. So please plan accordingly and allow enough time.
Several important things to note:
First, you will supply identification information for your firm
Next, you will enter information about each Principal and Responsible Official in your organization
You choose your e-file provider option. If you are a return preparer and want to e-file for clients, select Electronic Return Originator (ERO).
If the Principal or Responsible Official is certified or licensed, such as an attorney, CPA or enrolled agent, they must enter current professional status information.
All other individuals need to provide fingerprints to the IRS.
You must be fingerprinted by a trained professional - your local police station will likely provide this service for a modest fee or there are commercial services. If the trained professional does not have a fingerprint card (Form FD-258) call the IRS e-help Desk at 866-255-0654 to request a fingerprint card.
Once the e-file application is submitted then mail the signed and completed fingerprint card to the IRS at:
310 Lowell St STOP 983 EFU Acceptance Testing Andover MA 01810-5430
Your part in the application process is complete. It is our job at the IRS to finish the e-file authorization process for you.
Step 3: Pass a Suitability Check
After you submit your application and 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.
NOTE: If you owe back taxes you must set up an installment agreement with the IRS and make a payment to bring your IRS account to good standing. This must be done first to avoid being denied.
Once approved, you will get an acceptance letter from the IRS with your Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN).
After submitting your application schedule periodic checks of your IRS account where your new EFIN will appear if you have been approved. You may retrieve your new EFIN faster by proactively checking your account for approval.
Once enrolled, you will be able to serve your clients more effectively. Taxpayers know e-filing is fast and safe and gets them their refunds much more quickly.