Research mandatory e-filing requirements for federal and state tax returns.
Preparers who file ten (10) or more U.S. individual or trust returns are required to use e-file. Sources of sample engagement letters include your professional liability insurer, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (“AICPA”), and paid providers.
Review the information currently on file with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) authorizing the firm as an IRS e-file provider, or register as an e-file provider with the IRS. If information on file with the IRS has changed in the past year, update it or reapply as a new e-filer.

Train professional and administrative staff on firm e-filing processes. Submit completed returns electronically only upon receipt of both the signed e-file authorization forms and an e-mail acknowledging review and approval of draft returns from the client. Retain the e-mail acknowledging the client’s approval of the return in the workpaper file and the e-file authorization form in an administrative file. When filing electronically, save acknowledgments from the IRS or other tax authorities indicating return acceptance, not just receipt, for the required three years.

Inform clients both in the client engagement letter and cover letter sent with the tax organizer that returns will be filed electronically, and that clients will be required to review and approve draft returns prior to such filing. Signed copies of e-file signature authorizations, e.g., Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization and equivalent state forms, must be received before tax returns may be filed electronically. Both spouses must sign the engagement letter and e-file authorization form if a joint income tax return is filed.

Obtain a signed Form 8878, IRS e-file Signature Authorization for Form 4868 or Form 2350 or equivalent state form, prior to filing an application for an extension of time to file.
What to do now … before the big rush
5 steps to review e-file requirements and processes
Get the latest installment with best practices, examples, and SEO tips straight to your inbox each week.
Subscribe