IRS Advocates for Electronic Filing of Payroll Tax Returns


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is strongly urging employers to transition to electronic filing (e-filing) for their quarterly payroll tax returns, particularly as the October 31, 2023, deadline approaches.

While the traditional paper filing method remains an option, the IRS emphasizes that e-filing stands out as a more secure and precise medium. Additionally, the streamlined process brings time-saving benefits. With automatic form population, intuitive schedules, and user-friendly calculations, e-filing is shaping up to be the ideal choice for businesses.

A significant advantage of e-filing is the swift acknowledgment of receipt. Within 24 hours of submission, employers receive confirmation from the IRS, eliminating concerns over potential postal delays or misplaced mail. Additionally, e-filing systems notify users of any missing data, further ensuring accuracy.

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For employers interested in e-filing their payroll tax returns, the IRS provides two main avenues:

  1. Self-Filing: Employers can buy IRS-endorsed software tailored to their requirements. While there might be associated fees, the convenience is tangible. The software necessitates an electronic signature to process the e-filed returns. Depending on the chosen software, employers will:
    • Obtain an online signature PIN, or;
    • Attach Form 8453-EMP, the Employment Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return, to provide the necessary signature.
  2. Hiring a Tax Professional: Alternatively, employers can engage tax professionals to handle their employment tax returns. The IRS offers a handy e-file Provider Locator Service, making it easy for businesses to find certified professionals equipped to file on their behalf.

Further insights on e-filing payroll tax returns can be gleaned from the E-file Employment Tax Forms page on the IRS website.

However, there’s crucial information for businesses located in federally declared disaster areas. Such businesses have been granted extended deadlines to file and pay their payroll taxes. Here are the specifics:

  • Vermont: All employers have an extended deadline up to November 15, 2023.
  • Maine, Massachusetts, and South Carolina: Employers have been provided a reprieve until February 15, 2024.
  • Selected Areas in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, and Louisiana: These employers can also hold off until February 15, 2024.
  • Employers affected by terrorist activities in Israel: A significantly extended deadline up to October 7, 2024, has been allocated.

For a comprehensive understanding of the provisions for disaster-affected areas and the accompanying details, employers can refer to the IRS disaster relief page.

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As the payroll tax return deadline nears, the IRS is channeling its efforts to transition businesses to a more streamlined, secure, and efficient electronic system. With the added convenience of swift confirmations and user-focused features, e-filing emerges as the favorable option for forward-thinking businesses.

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