What New Tax Preparers Need to Know About Getting an EFIN

We have been getting a lot of questions on the Pronto Tax School Student Helpline about the issue of whether or not new tax preparers need an EFIN, what is an EFIN, how to get an EFIN, when to get an EFIN, and various other EFIN-related questions. Therefore, we have created an email that gives our Pronto Tax School new tax preparers answers to these EFIN-related questions.

The main points to realize right away is that e-filing is mandatory for 2012 tax season for any tax preparers who anticipate filing more than 10 tax returns in 2012, and secondly the IRS can take up to 45 days to process a new EFIN application, so if you are planning to become a self-employed taxpayer, you should act now to get an EFIN in time for tax season.

Read the rest of this article to discover resources for obtaining an EFIN, the article is written as an email to our Students but we will share it with the public here on our Pronto Tax School Blog, please add your experience in the “comments” section if you have more useful info about new tax preparers getting an EFIN in time for this tax season.

EFIN Application

Dear Pronto Tax School Student,

If you are planning on working as a self-employed tax preparer this tax season, it is extremely important that you apply for your Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) from the Internal Revenue Service as soon as possible.  Beginning this upcoming tax season, any tax preparer who anticipates filing more than 10 tax returns must e-file all tax returns–and without an EFIN, you cannot e-file to the IRS.  In addition to the IRS mandatory e-file requirement for 2012, tax clients will want you to be able to e-file because it speeds up the tax refund process, so in summary it’s very important that you are able to e-file this tax season.

The IRS can take up to 45 days to process a new EFIN application, so we would advise you to apply ASAP if you plan on being a self-employed tax preparer this tax season.  If you are planning to work with another tax company as an employee, you will be able to e-file using the tax company’s EFIN, so you can ignore this email completely.

In order to e-file, you must have an Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN).  Download the EFIN application by visiting:


You will want to choose the “Electronic Filing Originator” (ERO) option.  Make sure to read up on the EFIN program and understand your responsibilities.  IRS Publication 3112 (Google it and download it as a PDF document) will tell you what you need to know about the IRS EFIN program.

Obtaining an EFIN from the IRS is free.  However, you may have to get fingerprinted and pass a “suitability check.”  Fingerprinting usually costs around $50.

The IRS can take up to 45 days to process an EFIN application, so get your application in now to make sure you receive your EFIN before tax season starts.

We are letting you know about this so that you are able to get your EFIN before tax season starts.  We are available via email and phone support to offer some advice on how to go about getting an EFIN, however please do not contact us until you have read IRS Publication 3112 and the IRS also has a special “e-services” hotline that you can call with EFIN questions at (866) 255-0654.  If you have specific questions after you have read IRS Publication 3112 and/or called the IRS e-services hotline, we will be happy to help you, but again, please review this issue on your own before emailing or calling us.

Here are some links to other pages that address common EFIN questions: