Electronic Filing

Certified Public Accountants & Financial Advisors 


The processing of electronic returns has been more suuccessful than we could have possibly projected. The transition for most of our clients was quick, easy and efficient. And, for some of you, no more midnight trips to the post office to make sure your returns were mailed in time for the April 15th deadline.

The direct deposit was also very successful. In many cases, clients received refunds within 7 days of the electronic transmission. All in all, we were very happy with this new process.  Direct deposit is quick and easy. Many firms are now recommending direct deposit to all of their clients. We offer it as an option.

As you may or may not know, effective January 1, 2004, the State of Michigan required practitioners who prepare 200 or more Michigan Income Tax Returns (Form MI-1040) and credits to file client returns electronically. This mandate was intended to enhance the state's filing and audit processes along with providing fast refunds, more accurate returns, proof of filing receipt, electronic signatures and electronic payments. 

Several of our clients have already been notified that they are also required to e-file their Single Business Tax Returns. This notification will be sent to you from the State of Michigan, Department of Treasury and should be forwarded to our office with your tax information. There is a Customer Service Number (CSN) on the form that is required for efiling purposes. You should retain a copy of the Customer Service Number (CSN) for your records.

The State of Michigan and the Federal Government have approved Graves & Company, P.C. to submit all eligible returns for electronic filing. The filing will be handled internally at our office and you will receive notification of transmission acceptance after you have returned the necessary forms authorizing the transmission for both State and Federal governments. All city returns are paper filed. As tax practitioners, we are required to electronically file (e-file) returns. In order to make this transition to electronic filing, we will need your help.

Social Security:
If you have not already done so, please provide copies of the Social Security Card(s) for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents we will be filing for.  The name on your card must match the name on the tax return or it will be rejected for e-file eligibility.  Appropriate name changes concerning marriage, divorce, adoptions, etc. should be made prior to sending your information to our office.  You can contact the Social Security Administration toll free at 1-800-772-1213 or go on line at www.socialsecurity.gov for further information.   Fees can increase substantially if you are rejected during transmission and your return has to be reassembled for paper file due to incorrect social security numbers. If you are rejected and we do not have a copy of your social security card for verification purposes, additional fees will be passed on to you.

Your return will be processed in our office as usual. Once your information is input into our computer system the determination will be made as to your eligibility to electronically file all or part of your return. You will receive paper copies to file for all returns that are not eligible and a complete "client copy" to be retained for your records.  Envelopes will be provided along with vouchers, estimates, etc. for returns that have money due. Your return can be e-filed any time, but all payments must be paid no later than April 15th unless your return has been extended.

How will you receive your return?
You will receive your return(s) by mail or be called to pick them up depending on your preference as stated on the "Data Form".  The costs for requested special handling such as overnight, etc. will be included in your invoice. You will not receive a filing copy if you are eligible to e-file. 

You will receive the original and a copy of Form 8879 - Declaration for Electronic Filing with your completed return. Your signature(s) are/is required on this form before we can e-file your return.  Signing this form is the same as signing your return.  The original must be signed and returned timely in order to facilitate the transmission of your return. Important - your return can not be e-filed until we have an executed Form 8879 on file. The receipt of your return by mail or pick-up does not mean your return has been filed.  You will note, the form requires a personal identification number (PIN).  For ease of filing, we will assign the PIN number in our office. If we have not received your Form 8879 by April 5th, 2005, we will automatically file an extension of time to file your return at your expense.

Confirmation of Receipt:
We will mail your e-file confirmation receipt from the Federal and/or State to you after we receive it. You should retain the receipt(s) for a period of seven (7) years.

We understand that we will have some clients that will elect not to e-file. Although we can encourage you to e-file, the decision is still yours. If you elect not to e-file, your return will be assembled and returned to you for signature and mailing. Remember, paper filing could take up to seven months for processing by the State of Michigan. Returns not eligible for e-file will include, but not necessarily be limited to: 

      Amended Return(s) for a previous year
      Filing of a prior year return
      Filing a fiscal year return
      Filing of MI-1040X - Amended Income Tax Return
      Filing of Form 3581 - Michigan Historic Preservation Tax Credit

It is apparent the list of acceptable e-file forms will continue to expand until all forms will be filed electronically.

Paperless filing is the wave of the future and we are happy to be part of this future. We have been assured that electronic filing is safe and secure for all taxpayers. Transmissions are made over secure telephone lines, not over the internet. 

Commonly asked Electronic filing
Questions and Answers

What do I gain by using IRS e-file?  Accuracy! Security! Electronic Signatures! Proof of Acceptance! Fast refunds with direct deposit! Electronic Payment Options! Federal/State e-file! Only IRS e-file offers these advantages. 

What is an Authorized IRS e-file Provider?   An Authorized IRS e-file Provider is a tax professional or firm who is accepted into the IRS electronic filing program. One type of Authorized IRS e-file Provider is an Electronic Return Originator (ERO). An ERO is a person or firm that taxpayers entrust with tax information for the purpose of filing income tax returns electronically to the IRS. Graves & Company, P.C. is an ERO. 

What is the Personal Identification Number (PIN)?  The PIN allows you to personally sign your electronic tax return using a five-digit number. The PIN serves as your signature on your tax returns. Our firm will have this form all filled out for you when you come to pick up your returns or they are mailed to you. All you need to do, is execute and return the form to our office.  The Federal 8879 is the only form required to file your Federal and State return.

Do I really get my refund faster?   With IRS e-file you get it back in half the usual time. It's even faster and safer if you have your refund deposited directly to your bank account in as few as 10 days. ask you Authorized IRS e-file Provider for the estimated date of deposit. For more information about Direct Deposit, go to the Financial Management Service (FMS) web site, www.fins.treas.gov/eft/. 

Should I wait until April 15th to file electronically if I owe taxes?  No. You can e-file your return as soon as it is completed. Then send your payment in on or before April 15th.  Graves & Company, P.C. will give you a payment voucher and addressed envelope to make sure it goes to the correct IRS center. 

Do I have a greater chance of getting audited by the IRS if I use IRS e-file? . No.  The chance of an audit of an e-filed return is no greater than with a paper return. 

How do I know that the IRS really has my return?  The IRS notifies your Authorized IRS e-file Provider within 48 hours of transmission that your return information was received. If the IRS detects any errors, it sends a message back to our firm indicating the error. Our firm will correct the error and notify you to let you know what the error was. We will then retransmit your returns to the IRS. 

Can my state tax return be e-filed with my Federal return at the same time?  
There are 37 states and the District of Columbia currently participating in the IRS e-file program. Some of these states have returns that can't be filed electronically unless it is with the Federal return. Other states will be filed as independent states - meaning that they can be filed without the Federal return attached to it. The Michigan return needs to be filed with the Federal return. 

If my return is electronic, how do I sign it?   The most convenient way for you to sign your electronic return is to use a Personal Identification Number (PIN). It's completely paperless! Our firm has you sign a document that shows that you agree with the numbers in the return and is allowing us to e-file your return for you. The signed forms stay at our firm for four years. 

What if I owe and cannot pay the full balance due on my taxes?  The tax preparation software used by our firm can allow you to make partial payments. In this case, you can make a payment for less than the balance due amount on your return. If you cannot pay in full by April 15th, you can file Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. 

What happens if my return is filed electronically, I am receiving a refund, and I owe taxes from previous years?  The amount owed on back taxes is automatically deducted from your refund just as if you filed a paper return.