In May the Internal Revenue Service announced an incentive to encourage enrollment in and use of the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). Approximately 1 million employers could qualify for a refund of a previously paid federal tax deposit (FTD) penalty.
The EFTPS-FTD penalty refund offer allows business taxpayers an opportunity to receive an automatic one-time penalty refund if they have been assessed a deposit penalty on a Form 941, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return. The offer is available to employers who are not mandated to use EFTPS. To qualify for the offer, the employer must:
· use EFTPS for one year (four consecutive quarters),
· make all Form 941 payments on time and,
· have previously fully paid the penalty.
"This approach is a sound business decision for both taxpayers and the government," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "Using the electronic payment system is much more accurate and much less burdensome for taxpayers. At the same time, the government saves money because there are fewer errors, fewer notices and fewer problems."
Using EFTPS eliminates the vast majority of the errors found on paper submissions. These errors on paper coupons result in late or misapplied payments and an FTD penalty.
"Paying taxes using EFTPS means almost 20 times greater accuracy," said Dick Gregg, FMS Commissioner. "Greater accuracy means fewer penalties. I encourage individuals and businesses to enroll today and save time and money." Beginning in 2005, the IRS will automatically determine which employers have achieved the four quarters of EFTPS compliance and reverse the most recent full-paid FTD penalty minus any outstanding taxes. No other action by the employer is necessary.
The IRS will look back up to four quarters prior to the four-quarter compliance period for a full paid FTD penalty to abate. Penalties paid earlier than one year prior to the four-quarter compliance period are not eligible for the automatic offer. EFTPS is a free service provided by two bureaus of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, IRS and the Financial Management Service (FMS). EFTPS gives businesses, individuals, and tax professionals the ability to make federal tax payments electronically online, by phone or with batch provider software for professionals.
Taxpayers can enroll in EFTPS by visiting EFTPS.gov or by calling EFTPS Customer Service at 1-800-555-4477 to receive an enrollment form by mail.
EFTPS was introduced in 1996 and since that time more than 4.6 million taxpayers have enrolled in the system to make their federal tax payments electronically. In fiscal year 2003, EFTPS processed more than 68.5 million transactions totaling more than $1.5 trillion. Taxpayers can make payments through a secure web site or by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week from home or office; schedule payments up to 120 days in advance (for businesses) and 365 days in advance (for individuals); and review the last 16 months of tax payment history online or by calling Customer Service. In addition, taxpayers receive an immediate acknowledgement number for every EFTPS transaction for easy record keeping and as proof of the transaction. EFTPS is ideal for all business taxpayers and for individual taxpayers that make Form 1040 ES quarterly estimated payments.