The Internal Revenue Service is warning tax professionals that starting October 1, it will no longer accept paper-based applications to become electronic filing providers.

Beginning next Monday, applications to become an IRS e-file provider must be submitted online. The IRS originally announced the change in procedure last month (see IRS to End e-File Provider Applications on Paper). Until now the IRS had been allowing tax professionals to fill out Form 8633 to become e-file providers.

Tax professionals can become e-file providers through three steps:

1. Create an IRS e-Services account.
2. Submit the e-file provider application online.
3. Pass a suitabilty check.

The online application process takes four to six weeks to complete, and the IRS is warning tax professionals not to delay. In addition, existing e-file providers must now use e-Services to make account updates.

Help is available at or through the IRS's e-Help Desk at 1-866-255-0654 (512-416-7750 for international calls), Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. CST. A Frequently Asked Questions page and online tutorials are available to answer questions or to guide users through the application process.