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IRS Launches New Suite Of Online Business Tools

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

10 November 2003

The Internal Revenue Service has launched its first suite of internet-based tools, known collectively as e-services, which is intended to give tax professionals and financial institutions easier access to client information and opens up new avenues for working electronically with the IRS.

"These new e-services begin a series of steps that will improve how tax professionals interact with the IRS," explained IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "Through the use of technology, we are working to simplify and reduce (the) burden on thousands of tax professionals and more than 4 million firms that send us special information returns."

According to the IRS, the three new e-services which were launched last week are:

Registration — Before using other e-services products, tax professionals must register online to create an electronic account. The registration process is a one-time process for tax professionals to select a user name, password and personal identification number. An on-screen acknowledgment immediately confirms the registration process. For security purposes, a confirmation code is also mailed to the tax professional to complete the registration process.

Preparer Tax Identification Number Application — The Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN application, lets a paid preparer apply for and receive a PTIN immediately over the Internet. There is no longer the need to complete and mail a paper Form W-7P. This reduces processing time and input errors associated with a paper application. Anyone paid to prepare a tax return must sign the return and provide either a PTIN or a Social Security Number. The ability to substitute a PTIN for a Social Security Number began in 1999 to address concerns that clients and others outside the IRS could use a preparer’s Social Security Number inappropriately.

Interactive Taxpayer Identification Number Matching — Interactive Taxpayer Identification Number Matching, or TIN Matching, is a new, pre-filing service offered to banks or others that pay income subject to backup withholding. Authorized payers can match up to 25 taxpayer identification number and name combinations against IRS records before submitting an information return. Results of the match are returned within seconds. This pre-filing check prevents mismatches and possible penalties for the payer. In the past, only federal agencies could request TIN matching.

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