News & Reviews

Electronic Tax Reform

Marking yet another step in the long journey toward a paperless society, the IRS will soon require businesses with more than $50,000 in calendar 1995 payroll taxes to submit their payments electronically. Using the IRS's new Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), taxpayers can electronically transfer funds--over the telephone, via personal computer, or through their banks--to cover incurred federal payroll and business tax liabilities.

In compliance with 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) legislation, which requires the IRS to electronically collect 94 percent of all business taxes by 1999, more than 1.2 million businesses will be required to begin filing electronically at the start of 1997. By January 1, 1999, all businesses with employment taxes over $20,000 must begin depositing electronically as well. If your business is one of those required to convert to the new electronic transmission format at the start of the new year, you should receive an IRS notice and enrollment form. The IRS encourages business owners to enroll before November 1, 1996, though, as processing can take up to 10 weeks to complete.

There are some important things to keep in mind: Even if your payment threshold drops beneath the $50,000 mark, once you've filed electronically, you must continue to do so and cannot revert to the old paper coupon method. Also, while the IRS does not charge for the Automated Clearing House (ACH) electronic processing, your bank may. Consult with your bank to determine the amount they charge (if any) for the transactions.

Affected taxpayers with additional questions, along with those who would like to voluntarily convert to the new electronic submission format, can contact the EFTPS Customer Service Center for more information. In the Northern United States, call (800) 945-8400; in the Southern United States, call (800) 555-4477.

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This article was originally published in the October 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: News & Reviews.

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