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E-filing Forms 94x with Payroll System

John Logue Updated by John Logue

To e-file federal employment tax returns using CFS Payroll System, you must:

  1. Be a tax preparer,
  2. Have an IRS E-Services account, and
  3. Complete an IRS E-file Application to become an Electronic Return Originator (ERO) and a Transmitter.

(For more information, see Requirements to E-File Forms 94x.)

Submitting a Communications Test File

After your E-file Application has been processed, the IRS will assign you an EFIN and Transmitter ETIN. The ETIN is initially only authorized for testing. In order to have the ETIN authorized for submitting production files, you must submit a Communications Test File.

Submitting the File

To submit a Communications Test File, open the E-File Federal Employment Tax Returns module.

Enter your EFIN and ETIN:

Other information should be imported from your Firm Information. Click the Communications Test File button to create the Test File.

A pop-up message (shown below) shows the path\filename of the Test File on your hard drive. The path\filename is also copied to the clipboard, so that it can be pasted into the appropriate field on the IRS MeF site. Click the OK button to close the message.

Click the Log In to MeF button to open your browser to the Login page of the MeF site:

Fill in your Username and Password, and click LOGIN:

At the MeF home page, click the Transmit Test File link.

When you get to the Submit Test File page, click the Browse... button, paste the path\filename into the File name box using CTRL+V, and click Open. The filename should now appear next to the Browse... button. Click Submit to submit the file. A status window will appear to inform you when the file has uploaded. You will then receive a Submission Receipt, which you should print for your records.

Retrieving Test Acknowledgement

The next step is to click Retrieve Test Acknowledgements to download an Acknowledgement File. The file will tell you whether your test has been accepted or rejected.

For more information on using the MeF website, including links to IRS tutorials and publications, see the Help file.

Viewing the Acknowledgement File

Use the View Saved Ack File button to view the downloaded Acknowledgement file.

Browse to the file location. It will probably be in your Downloads folder. The filename will be "AcknowledgementFile.zip."

Double-click the file, or select it and click Open. The "<AcceptanceStatusTxt>" line indicates whether the file was accepted:

If your Test File is accepted, contact the IRS e-Help desk (1-866-255-0654) to complete the process of changing your status from Test to Production.

Signature Methods

Each electronic return must have an electronic signature when submitted. There are three signature methods:

  1. Reporting Agent PIN,
  2. Practitioner PIN, and
  3. Form 8453-EMP PDF.

Forms for each method can be found in Payroll System under General Forms/Utilities:

Form 8655 and the 8655 Reporting Agent List are used to apply for a Reporting Agent PIN. This is the simplest method to electronically sign forms. For the other methods, use Form 8879-EMP or Form 8453-EMP.

For more information on the use of these forms, see the Help file.

E-Filing

Preparing Forms

Before you can electronically file a form, you must prepare and save the form using the form module, just as when submitting on paper.

Duplicate returns in one filing period will cause an error. If you have created more than one return for an employer, delete any duplicates.

The E-File Federal Employment Tax Returns Module

When you are ready to e-file, open the E-File Federal Employment Tax Returns module.

Employers with forms ready for filing will be listed in the Employer List for Employment Tax Form:

If you are the Reporting Agent, enter your PIN:

Select Form and Filing Period from the drop-down menu:

Make sure the IRS Name Control for each employer is correct. If you are the Reporting Agent, check against the Reporting Agent List that was returned to you by the IRS.

Select Signature Method for each employer from drop-down menu:

You are given the option of assigning the same Signature Method to all unassigned employers:

Step 1 - Submission Files

Step 1 is to create a Submission File for each employer. Select the employers for which you wish to create a file, either by checking the individual boxes or by clicking the Check All Ready button.

Click the Create Files button in the Step 1 - Submission Files box.

You will be presented with a separate Perjury Statement and Signature screen for each employer. Fill out the Electronic Funds Withdrawal Consent if you will be paying electronically. Check the I Agree box and click Continue to sign.

If the program contains bank account information for an employer, it will appear on the form, but it will not be used unless the “No payment included unless checked” box is checked.

After you have “signed” all Perjury Statement and Signature forms, you will receive a message that the submission files have either been successfully created or that there are errors. If there are errors, correct them and attempt to create the file again.

Step 2 - Transmission File

Step 2 is to create a Transmission File containing your Submission Files. Select the employer Submission Files you wish to include in the Transmission File, either by checking individual boxes or by clicking the Check All Ready button.

Click the Create File button in the Step 2 - Transmission File box.

A message indicates the file has been successfully created and displays the path and filename. The path\filename is also copied to the clipboard, so that it can be pasted into the appropriate field on the IRS MeF site.

Step 3 - Upload File

Click the Log In to MeF button to open your browser to the Login page of the MeF site.

On the IRS e-services MeF site, fill in your Username and Password, and click LOGIN.

At the MeF home page, click the Transmit Production File link.

When you get to the Submit Production File page, click the Browse... button, paste the path\filename into the File name box using CTRL+V, and click Open. The filename should now appear next to the Browse... button. Click Submit to submit the file. A status window will appear to inform you when the file has uploaded. You will then receive a Submission Receipt, which you should print for your records.

Step 4 - Check Ack File

Return to the MeF site later and click Retrieve Production Acknowledgements to download an Acknowledgement ("Ack") file. The file will tell you whether your file has been accepted or rejected.

In the E-file Employment Tax Returns module, click the Auto Read Saved Ack File button.

Browse to the saved file. It will probably be in your Downloads folder. The filename will be "AcknowledgementFile.zip."

If more than one Acknowledgement File has been downloaded, subsequent files will be named AcknowledgementFile (2).zip, AcknowledgementFile (3).zip, etc.

Double-click the latest file, or select it and click Open. An Acknowledgement Summary will indicate whether your files have been accepted or rejected. If accepted, the date will be recorded in the Accepted Date column of the grid.

If Files Are Rejected

View the Ack File

If a file is rejected, you can use the View Saved Ack File button to look at the Acknowledgement File and try to determine what the problem is.

Browse to the file, open it, and scroll through it, looking for error messages.

Make Necessary Corrections to Form

Most errors are the result of incomplete or incorrect data on the return. In the above example, the EIN and Name Control in the file did not match the information the IRS had on file. The discrepancy must be corrected in the form module and a new file saved.

Reset Transmission/Submission Files

You must reset the Transmission and Submission file status before creating new files.

  1. First, use the individual checkboxes and/or Check/Uncheck buttons to select employers you wish to reset:
  1. Next, click the Reset Transmission Files button to reset Transmission files:
  1. Finally, click the Reset Submission Files button to reset checked Submission files:
If you make a mistake while resetting files, click the Undo Last Reset button after checking employers you wish to undo.

Once you have finished resetting the files, return to Step 1 to prepare new files and submit them.

How did we do?

Modifying Your IRS E-file Application to E-file Forms 94x

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