E-file Requirements

Authorized IRS e-file (The brand name of the electronic filing method established by the IRS) providers must protect taxpayer information from any unauthorized disclosure, use, and destruction.  Taxpayers should be confident that any information furnished by them in the process of tax return preparation will be protected by security systems that can prevent unauthorized third-party access and use.  These systems must be secure enough not to allow unauthorized access to taxpayer accounts and personal information.  

Taxpayers choosing to electronically prepare and file their return using an online software package will be required to use either the Self-Select Personal Identification Number (PIN) or the Practitioner PIN method*.  The Self-Select PIN method** allows taxpayers to electronically sign their e-file returns using a five-digit PIN and either their Adjusted Gross Income or PIN from the prior year.  The Practitioner PIN method does not require taxpayers to use either Adjusted Gross Income (The income arrived at after adjustments are subtracted.  AGI is determined prior to subtracting the standard deduction or itemized deductions.  Adjustments may be claimed by taxpayers even if they cannot itemize deductions using Schedule A. or PIN from the prior year.  Under this method, taxpayers may enter their PINs in the electronic return using keystrokes after they have reviewed the completed return.  They must then sign Form 8879, the signature authorization form. The preparer must complete Form 8879 and signed by all taxpayers when filing a return electronically.  EROs must retain Forms 8879 for three years from the later of the due date of the return or the date received by the IRS.

Form 8453, U.S. Individual Tax Transmittal for an IRS e-file Return, is used to transmit supporting paper documents that are required to be submitted to the IRS with e-file returns.  Only the forms and supporting documents listed on Form 8453 can be submitted with the form.  No other paper documents are required to be sent.  However, if Form 8453 and supporting documents are required, the ERO must mail these to the IRS within three business days of IRS acknowledgment of receipt of the return.  

Form 8453 is a transmittal document only.  Preparers are still required to complete Form 8879 and obtain taxpayer signatures on Form 8879 when filing Form 8453.

* An electronic signature option for taxpayers who use an ERO to e-file. This method requires the taxpayer to create a five-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) to use as the signature on the e-file return.

** An electronic signature option for taxpayers who e-file using either a personal computer or an ERO.  This method requires the taxpayer to create a five-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) to use as the signature on the e-file return and to submit authentication information to the IRS with the e-file return.


Cathy Fisher

Common Cents Bookkeeping and Tax Preparation

Serving Henderson, NC, Buncombe County, Polk County, Transylvania County


P: 828-595-2835

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