The Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday that effective Oct. 1, 2012, applications to become an IRS e-file provider must be submitted online.

“We will no longer accept paper e-file applications,” the IRS said in an email to tax professionals.

Until now the IRS had been allowing tax professionals to fill out Form 8633, Application to Participate in the IRS e-file Program. The new online procedure for becoming an e-file provider involves three steps:

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

The IRS estimated that the online application process takes four to six weeks to complete and urged tax professionals not to delay.

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

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