IRS issues update about planned e-Services improvements

August 31, 2017

IRS

The IRS is planning a series of actions this summer and fall to improve e-Services usability and to improve e-Services security. The result will be a better product that will better protect you and your clients. All e-Services users will be affected by these actions.

Planned outages Labor Day weekend

First there will be outages of e-Services products as we plan for routine maintenance at Labor Day and as we move e-Services to a new platform the following week.  

IRS will conduct annual Labor Day maintenance on numerous electronic systems beginning Saturday, Sept. 2 at 8:00 p.m. ET and ending Tuesday Sept. 5 at 5:00 a.m. ET.

The Transcript Delivery System, TIN Matching, e-file Application, ACA and Registration Services will not be operational during this timeframe.  

Launching a new e-Services platform and landing page - September 7-12, 2017

Moving e-Services to a new platform will complete a multi-year effort to upgrade this product. 

As we move to a new e-Services program starting September 7, various products must be taken offline for us to complete the transition by September 12. (This is unrelated to the planned outage over Labor Day weekend.)

We have tried to limit the business impact of these outages. Here’s the schedule for the platform transition:

  • 6 a.m. ET, Thursday, September 7: E-Services registration and the ability to apply for ACA, e-file, TIN Matching and IVES, will be unavailable; a redesigned e-Services landing page will launch. If you go to the old landing page, you will be automatically redirected to the new page.
  • 10 p.m. ET, Friday, September 8: Transcript Delivery System and TIN Matching will go offline.
  • 6 a.m. ET, Monday, September 11: Transcript Delivery System and TIN Matching will be back online.
  • 6 a.m. ET, Tuesday, September 12: The applications for ACA, e-File, TIN Matching and IVES will become available, including the ACA Information Return applications for the Transmitter Control Code.
  • However, state users will be unable to submit new or change existing e-File and TDS applications from September 7 until late October. States will still retain access to TDS. States with a critical need to change employee applications should contact their IRS government liaison.

Establishing a new e-Services user agreement

Later this fall, in late October, we will be rolling out a new user agreement. All registered users must accept its revised terms to have access to e-Services and its products.

Several issues needed to be addressed and strengthened. The new user agreement requires you to keep your account and applications up-to-date within 30 days of any changes. You must keep your e-Services username, password and PIN confidential. You must contact the Help Desk if there is an unauthorized use of your account.

One area it also addresses is an emerging service to tax preparers by what we’re calling Intermediate Service Providers. Intermediate Service Providers are privately owned companies offering subscriptions to their software and/or services. Authorized e-Services users can login to their accounts and the service provider will get client transcripts, present them in a variety of formats and, sometimes, may store the transcripts for future use by the e-Services user.

This new user agreement requires tax professionals using Intermediate Service Providers to take certain steps: You must ensure that the company is not storing your username, password or PIN. You also must notify your client that you are using an Intermediate Service Provider to access their tax information.

The requirements related to Intermediate Service Providers will not affect most e-Services users.

We will soon post information on our website about these user agreement changes and we will issue a Quick Alert. The IRS urges all users to thoroughly read the user agreement. Violation of the terms of services will affect your access to e-Services.

Protecting e-Services accounts with our Secure Access authentication process

Starting in late October, all e-Services users must register through Secure Access, a rigorous authentication process, to validate their identity and meet a new two-factor authentication requirement.

It is called two-factor authentication because all returning users must first enter their credentials (username and password) and then enter a security code sent to the user. To assist users who either cannot use a cell or lack cell service, the IRS is adding a new feature to its IRS2Go app. This app can be used on many types of mobile devices, including smart phones and tablets.

For existing e-Services users who cannot authenticate through Secure Access, we will have an exception process through our help desk. However, even if you validate your identity through the help desk, you will still need a mobile phone or the IRS2Go app to obtain a security code each time you login to e-Services.

You can read more about these changes at Important Update about Your e-Services Account.

Read about the current Secure Access process at www.irs.gov/secureaccess. This page will update with information about the IRS2Go app when it becomes available. 

We also have FAQs about Secure Access and e-Services Users and Tips for Successfully Authenticating Your Identity through Secure Access.

Additionally, we will be scheduling some webinars that will demonstrate the registration process for users and we will have experts on hand to answer technical questions. More to come on the Webinars and information about the IRS2Go app.

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