Changes to its e-Services platform will affect all e-Services users, the IRS announced Wednesday evening, and various services will not be available between Sept. 7 and Sept. 12.
Unrelated to the platform changes, e-Services will also be unavailable over Labor Day weekend, from 8 p.m. ET, on Saturday, Sept. 2, until 5 a.m. ET, on Tuesday, Sept. 5. During the Labor Day outage, the transcript delivery system, taxpayer identification number (TIN) matching, e-file application, ACA, and registration services will not be in operation.
The IRS also launched a new design for its entire website, at irs.gov.
The planned changes to e-Services fall into three categories: (1) a new platform and landing page; (2) a new user agreement; and (3) a new authentication process.
New platform and landing page
E-Services is moving to a new platform, and a new e-Services landing page is schedule to be launched on Sept. 7. Users going to the old page will be automatically redirected to the new page.
As the site transitions to its new platform, the following services will be unavailable during the following times:
- E-Services registration: Unavailable starting at 6 a.m. ET, Thursday, Sept. 7.
- Applying to become an e-file provider, for the TIN matching service, for the Income Verification Express Service (IVES), and for ACA providers: Unavailable starting at 6 a.m. ET, Thursday, Sept. 7. Back online at 6 a.m. ET, Tuesday, Sept. 12.
- TIN matching: Unavailable starting at 10 p.m. ET, Friday, Sept. 8. Back online at 6 a.m. ET, Monday, Sept. 11.
- Transcript delivery: Unavailable starting at 10 p.m. ET, Friday, Sept. 8. Back online at 6 a.m. ET, Monday, Sept. 11.
New user agreement and intermediate service providers
The IRS will be rolling out a new e-Services user agreement in late October. All e-Services users will be required to accept the terms of the new agreement.
The new user agreement will also address intermediate service providers, which are private companies that offer software or services to e-Services users, such as helping users gain access to taxpayer transcripts. The new user agreement will require tax professionals to ensure that any intermediate service provider they use does not store usernames, passwords, or PINs. Practitioners will also be required to notify clients if they use an intermediate service provider to gain access to taxpayer information.
New authentication process
All e-Services users will be required to register using a new secure authentication system. This will involve a two-factor authentication process, in which users will enter their username and password, and the IRS will then send a security code in a text message to their cellphone or to the IRS2Go app.
Users who cannot authenticate their identity through the new system will have to go through the IRS help desk. However, the IRS says that even if a user validates his or her identity through the help desk, the user will still have to obtain a security code via text message or the IRS2Go app every time he or she logs in to e-Services.
—Alistair Nevius (Alistair.Nevius@aicpa-cima.com) is the JofA’s editor-in-chief, tax.