Expanded E-Services Access

Playing with the IRS’s online toys.
BY LESLI S. LAFFIE

RS news release IR-2005-33 explains that the service has eased the qualifications for tax advisers to use its suite of e-services incentive products, meeting their demands to access these valuable online tools.

WHAT ARE THEY?
According to the IRS Web site, “e-services” is a suite of Web-based products that allows tax professionals and payers to do business with the IRS electronically, 24/7. Tax advisers who e-file any combination of five or more accepted individual and business tax returns in a calendar year can now use three e-services products: disclosure authorization (DA), electronic account resolution (EAR) and transcript delivery (TDS). When first launched in summer 2004, these products were reserved for those who e-filed 100 or more individual returns.

WHY USE THEM?
Here’s how the three incentive products increase tax-filing efficiency and save time and resources:

DA. Eligible CPAs can complete a DA and view and modify existing forms online. DA allows them to electronically submit Forms 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, and 8821, Tax Information Authorization. It expedites processing and issues a real-time acknowledgement of accepted submissions. Form 8655, Reporting Agent Authorization for Magnetic Tape/Electronic Filers, may not be submitted via a DA.

EAR. CPAs using EAR can quickly resolve clients’ account problems by electronically sending and receiving inquiries about refunds, installment agreements, missing payments or notices. They must have a power of attorney (form 2848) on file before inquiring into a client’s account. Responses are delivered to a secure electronic mailbox within three business days. A CPA should use a DA to submit form 2848 to the IRS. Form 8655 authorizations cannot be used to access EAR.

TDS. TDS resolves clients’ needs for return and account information quickly in a secure, online session. It allows eligible CPAs with a power of attorney (form 2848) on file to request and receive account, wage and income or tax return transcripts; verification of nonfiling letters for individual taxpayers; and account transcripts for business taxpayers. Again, a tax adviser should use a DA to submit form 2848; form 8655 authorizations cannot be used to access TDS.

OTHER BENEFITS
Other products include

E-services registration. CPAs who want to use any e-services product must register and create an electronic account by selecting a user name, password and personal identification number. An on-screen acknowledgement confirms the registration process.

Preparer tax identification number (PTIN). CPAs may choose to use a PTIN, instead of a Social Security number, on returns they prepare for clients. The PTIN application enables a preparer to apply for and receive a PTIN online or look up a forgotten one.

IRS e-file application. CPAs can complete, submit and update their applications online. Principals of organizations can delegate e-services authority to other individuals by identifying them on their IRS e-file application.

For more information, see the Tax Practice Management column, written by Joseph Maida, in the June 2005 issue of The Tax Adviser.

—Lesli S. Laffie, editor
The Tax Adviser

Notice to readers: Members of the AICPA tax section may subscribe to The Tax Adviser at a reduced price. Contact Judy Smith at 202-434-9270 for a subscription to the magazine or to become a member of the tax section.

SPONSORED REPORT

Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.

QUIZ

News quiz: IRS warning on cyberattacks and a change in pension rules

Once again, the IRS sounds the alarm about a threat from cyberthieves. See how much you know about this and other recent news with this short quiz.

CHECKLIST

Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.