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e-file the HowardSoft way...

How to Get Started

Before you can e-file returns with our software, there are two important tasks you must complete:

  •   Apply to the IRS. You must be approved by the IRS for participation in the IRS e-file program. The IRS now requires you to apply on-line in a rather involved process aimed at ensuring that you are a suitable participant in their e-file program. As explained in IRS Pub. 3112 (IRS e-file Application and Participation), application is a 3-step process:
    •   Step 1: Create an IRS e-services account. You must have an e-services account before you can apply for e-file participation. To open the account, you must identify yourself (including certain personal information) and create a username, password, and PIN for the account. A confirmation code will then be mailed to you in order for you to complete the registration of an e-services account. (Note that every pricipal and responsible official in your firm must create his or her own e-services account.)
    •   Step 2: Submit an application to become an authorized IRS e-file provider. The application is comprehensive and must be performed on-line. Unless you are a CPA or enrolled agent, you may also need to provide fingerprints to the IRS.
    •   Step 3: Pass a suitability check. After you apply, the IRS will conduct a suitability check on your firm and each person identified as a pricipal or responsible official. This can include credit checks, tax compliance checks, and criminal background checks. Once approved, you will be issued an Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN), which you will use on all returns that you e-file to the IRS.
    To start this 3-step process, go to the IRS website for e-file applications. It can takes several weeks to complete this 3-step process, so you should apply well in advance of the first tax season when you want to e-file. (You do not have to reapply each year as long as your EFIN is in good standing with the IRS. Furthermore, once you are accepted into the IRS's e-file program, you are automatically enrolled in California's e-file program if you reside in California.)
  •   Annually purchase transmission software. You must annually purchase from HowardSoft the e-file transmission software designed for the latest tax filing year. It will send to the IRS the e-file output produced by HowardSoft Tax Preparer in the format required by the IRS.

e-file available: e-file transmission software is available for all Standard Level and Premium Level CD-ROMs for Tax Preparer (1040) and California Supplement (540). Even with our lowest-priced transmission software you can e-file an unlimited number of returns for a very low per-return transmission fee. (With our highest-priced transmission software there is NO per return fee!)

Why use it? Electronic filing (now called "e-file" by the IRS) has been around for years, but you can expect more clients to request it every year because of the massive publicity campaign that the IRS has mounted. The traditional benefit to the client is a faster refund, often by weeks, including direct deposit in the client’s bank account. But the client can also use e-file to "file later" for a balance-due return, delaying payment until April 15th or paying automatically (electronically) on any specified date before that. The client also has the comfort of confirmation from the IRS of receipt of the return and validation of simple arithmetic on the return.

How it works. e-file is fully integrated into Tax Preparer so that you can generate files for electronic filing as easily as printing a return. Then, when you're ready to transmit your returns to the IRS, you merely start the included transmission software and the returns are transmitted securely through the internet for a low per-return fee.

Options. The e-file transmission software is available at four levels. For the 2021 filing season, the prices for Form 1040 e-file are:

  •   Basic ($105). Our lowest-priced option lets you transmit an unlimited number of returns for $5.20 per return transmission to the IRS.
  •   Silver ($279). Our next option lets you perform 37 return transmissions free plus an unlimited number of additional return transmissions at $4.15 each.
  •   Gold ($499). Our mid-priced option lets you perform 100 return transmissions free plus an unlimited number of additional return transmissions at $3.15 each.
  •   Platinum ($979). Our highest-priced option lets you transmit an unlimited number of returns with NO per-transmission fee.

Note that the above prices are regular prices for the 2021 filing season. For the latest pricing information, see our on-line Order Form.