IRS eases e-Services registration process for tax pros

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The Internal Revenue Service has made some moves to help tax professionals register for its e-Services online applications.

In an email to tax professionals Monday, the IRS said it has added student loans to the types of acceptable financial accounts that can be used to verify the user’s identity. In recent years, the IRS has experienced data breaches in a number of its e-Services, including its Get Transcript app, Identity Protection PIN and the Data Retrieval tool for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. As a result, it added extra authentication procedures to make sure legitimate users were accessing the online services.

Users now need to pass a number of identity-proving steps, including questions to confirm their email address, tax return information, financial account information and mobile phone confirmation.

The IRS said Monday it has now added student loans to the list of financial account data that it will accept for verification. Student loans will be one of a number of alternatives that include credit card, home mortgage, home equity loan, home equity line of credit or car loan accounts. Users only need to provide one of the accepted items for verification.

The other change announced Monday involves a new exemption process that allows tax pros who don’t have an e-Services account and who can’t complete the identity-proving process online to instead go through the process in person at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center. The exception process allows for manual assistance once in-person authentication has been done. The change is aimed at helping new hires along with first-time users who couldn’t complete the process last year.

New users who can’t pass the Secure Access process should call the IRS’s e-help Desk at (888) 841-4648 for a referral to make an appointment at a Taxpayer Assistance Center. They should tell the IRS phone representative that they aren’t able to verify their identity for Secure Access authentication for e-Services. For the in-person appointment, the user needs to bring a government-issued picture ID and Social Security card, or an original or certified embossed birth certificate. IRS employees at the Taxpayer Assistance Center will make note of the authentication, the date and the documents used. They will then direct users to call the e-help desk number for help in completing the e-Services registration.

Existing e-Services users who can’t successfully authenticate themselves online already have an option called exception processing by phone. They can call the IRS e-help Desk number, and a customer service rep will ask them a series of questions related to their current and prior-year tax return information, including income information documents.

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