Time is short for any tax preparers who have yet to meet the January 2012 deadline to become Authorized IRS e-file Providers.
Starting in January, tax professionals and tax firms that expect to prepare and file 11 or more Form 1040 series returns, Form 1041 returns or a combination of these generally must use IRS e-file, though their clients may independently choose to file by paper.
To become authorized e-file providers, preparers must create an e-Services account, apply for an Electronic Filing Identification Number and pass a suitability check. All this can take 45 days, the IRS said in an alert issued last week.
The 2012 requirement will conclude the final implementation phase of a law intended to boost the e-filing rate of income tax returns for individuals, trusts and estates. In 2011, the e-file mandate pertained to any paid tax professional that anticipated preparing and filing 100 or more returns. The e-file rate by paid preparers increased 12% in 2011.