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IRS urges business owners to e-file payroll tax returns

The next quarterly payroll tax return due date is Oct. 31, and the Internal Revenue Service urges business owners to use the speed and convenience of filing the returns electronically.

IRS Forms 940, 941, 943, 944 or 945 are used to report employment tax information. The IRS recommends electronic filing, or e-filing, of these returns for many reasons.

E-filing saves taxpayers time by performing calculations and populating forms and schedules using a step-by-step process. Once submitted, the information is quickly available to the IRS, thus reducing processing time.

E-filing is the most accurate method to file returns. Those who e-file receive missing information alerts. Electronically filed returns have fewer errors, which reduces a taxpayer’s chance of receiving an IRS notice.

The IRS takes safeguarding personal information seriously, and e-filing security is a top priority at the agency. E-file security standards ensure tax information is protected from security breaches. The IRS requires all authorized IRS e-file providers to ensure only authorized users have access to secure information.

The IRS acknowledges receipt of e-filed returns within 24 hours. The agency retains the information on the tax return. Unlike filing a return on paper, e-filing assures the filer that the tax return is with the IRS and not misplaced or lost in the mail.

Payroll tax returns may be self-filed, or businesses may purchase IRS-approved software. Business owners may need to pay a fee to electronically file their returns.

The tax software requires a signature. The taxpayer has the option to apply for an online signature PIN or to scan and attach Form 8453-EMP, Employment Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return.

A tax professional may file on behalf of the business, and business owners may use the Authorized IRS e-file Provider Locator Service to find a tax professional who offers this service.

Only the business owner, authorized signers and reporting agents can apply for an online signature PIN. Third parties, such as attorneys, CPAs, tax return preparers or other tax professionals, can’t request a PIN on behalf of the business, nor can they use the PIN to sign returns on behalf of their clients.

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