Signing a Form 94x Return

The IRS provides 4 options for signing an electronically-filed Form 94x (940, 941, 943, 944, 945) return. eFile Express supports all 4 of these signature options. However, depending on your filing situation, only one or two may be available to you.

Which signature option should you use?

The answer depends on “Who is e-filing the return on behalf of the organization?”

  • Business owners and employees of the organization should typically use the “Online Filer PIN” or “Signature Document” option.
  • Professional tax preparers would typically use the “Practioner PIN” or “Signature Document” option.
  • Reporting Agents would typically use the “Reporting Agent PIN”.

Specifying a Signature Option

Use “Form 94x Signature” to specify which signature option to use. This form is included with all 94x FormPaks and is required when using eFile Express to e-file a 94x return.

Option 1: Online Filer PIN

Uses a 10-digit PIN that the IRS has mailed to you. This PIN, which is issued to you or to an authorized individual at your organization, can be used to sign all your 94x returns. It’s very easy to use. The only “catch” is that you need to get the PIN from the IRS first. To do that, submit a one-time request to the IRS (using “Form 94x PIN Request”).  Note that it may take up to 45 days for the IRS to mail you the PIN. If you plan ahead, signing future 94x returns can be as easy as entering your 10-digit PIN.

Option 2: Signature Document

You can still sign your 94x return the “old fashioned” way by providing the IRS your manual signature. However, because you’re e-filing the return, you don’t actually apply your signature to the signature box on Form 94x. Instead, the IRS requires that you include a special form (Form 8453-EMP) with your e-filed return. The 94x FormPaks available with eFile Express include this form but it’s un-signed. If you’ve added it to your return, it will be listed in the left-hand window under “Print and Scan Forms”. Forms listed under that folder are NOT included with your e-filed return. Instead, the form needs to be filled out, signed and saved as a PDF document that is then included with your return. You can do this one of two ways: (a) print/sign/scan Form 8453-EMP using your printer and scanner OR (b) use the freely-available Adobe Acrobat Reader DC to apply your signature to a PDF of Form 8453-EMP that eFile Express generates and automatically attaches to your return.

Option 3: Practitioner PIN

Professional Tax Preparers who have (a) registered with the IRS as an ERO (Electronic Return Originator) and (b) registered their EFIN with eFile Express TaxPro accounts can use this signature option to sign their clients’ returns. The taxpayer’s 5-digit PIN is entered on Form 8879-EMP and is automatically copied to Form 94x Signature. TaxPros using this signature option are reminded that the IRS requires they keep a manually-signed copy of Form 8879-EMP with their records.

Option 4: Reporting Agent PIN

A Reporting Agent is an accounting service, franchiser, bank or other person who complies with Revenue Procedure 2012-32 and is authorized to prepare and sign employment tax returns electronically for a taxpayer. Reporting Agents who register with the IRS are issued a 5-digit PIN that can be used to electronically file their clients’ returns.