The Internal Revenue Service has sent out an advisory to tax preparers and tax firms that do not have Electronic Filing Identification Numbers to obtain EFINs in order to meet the 2012 e-file mandate.

Starting in January 2012, any paid preparer or firm that anticipates preparing and filing 11 or more Form 1040 series returns, Form 1041 returns, or a combination of Form 1040 series returns and Form 1041 returns must generally do so through IRS e-file.

The 2012 requirement marks phase two of a law intended to boost the rate of e-filing. In 2011, the e-file mandate pertained to any paid preparer or firm that anticipated preparing and filing 100 or more returns.

Currently, nearly 80 percent of individual tax returns are filed electronically. The IRS said it has processed more than 1 billion individual tax returns since the debut of electronic filing in 1990.

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