eFile & Pay - Bulk Filers / Service Providers

eFile & Pay

The terms "bulk filer" and "service provider" are used interchangeably to describe
persons who perform tax reporting and paying services for multiple clients.

Service Providers File Using Any of Three Methods

Single File Online

At the eFile & Pay Web site, submit return / e-payment information online, one transaction at a time, much like taxpayers would file for themselves.

Web Upload

Again at the eFile & Pay Web site, submit a fixed length or delimited file of clients’ return / e-payment information. This option is explained in greater detail below.

Batch Load

Batch load allows you to download a batch loader software tool which enables you to bulk load data through a standard HTTPS SSL secure process. Data is loaded from a standard ASCII text file formatted to your specifications as defined in this pdf presentation.

Summary of Instructions for Bulk Filers (DWI or Batch Loader)

The Batch Loader User Guide (pdf)

Registering as a Service Provider

Service providers need to be identified as such regardless of the method of filing used. The first step is to complete an Application to Become a Bulk Filer (pdf). Upon completion and submission of the application, the Department will register the applicant as a service provider. It could take up to 4 weeks to process the application. The Department will mail information on how to log in and set up to file for clients.

Service providers who already have a Business eFile Number (BEN) will use that same number to access eFile & Pay for purposes of filing on behalf of their clients.

Service providers who do not already have a BEN will be issued a unique 8-digit number. The Department will mail this BEN to the service provider. This number will be used for initial logon and account setup purposes, as well as being the access method for filing online.

The system also requires a permit number for initial logon into the system. If a service provider has Iowa employees (therefore an active withholding permit number), that active withholding permit number will be used. Any service provider which does not have an active withholding permit will be issued a permit number strictly for purposes of initial logon.

Initial Login

The first person to access the system using the service provider's BEN will be the administrator of the service provider's eFile & Pay account and will set up that account on the eFile & Pay Web site. The administrator will be assigned a user ID and will create a password for future use. The administrator can either use this ID and password to file for clients or can set up other user accounts to allow other users to file for clients. At the time any registered user logs in, he or she will be given the option to "File for Your Clients."

Once the “File for Your Clients” link is selected, the user will have options to either file individual client transactions or upload client transaction files. Service providers have the ability to file monthly/semi-monthly deposits, quarterly returns, annual returns, and VSPs. Also, amended quarterly and annual returns and VSPs can be filed. (Amended deposits cannot be filed.)

Single File Online

If the "Third Party Filing / File Online" option is chosen, the Client’s eFile Number, Tax Type and Permit Number must be entered. This will then allow the service provider to enter information for that one client, just as the client might file on their own.

Web Upload

Once this option is selected, the first step is to select the transactions to be filed (monthly / semi-monthly deposit, quarterly / annual return or VSP).

The next step is to create and define the files. Separate files should be created for each of the following filing frequencies, as each of these have distinct file formats.

Files can be either a fixed length file or a delimited file. Files can be created in Excel and saved as a .csv file or created in Word or Notepad and saved as a .txt file. The available delimiters are comma, semicolon, pipe, or tab. The file format for each filing frequency helps you determine what information is required for the file you are creating. The file format for the type of transactions to be filed is provided. A standard format for each transaction type is displayed. This standard format can be used as the basis to file returns or it can be customized by changing the sequence of the fields, eliminating optional fields, or adding filler. Once the format is determined and saved by a user, that format will be presented to that user for future filings until such time as it is modified.

The standard file formats for each of the transactions are available through the links below. These links also contain specific edits that will be applied to the transactions.

Iowa Withholding (Monthly, SemiMonthly)(pdf)

Iowa Withholding (Quarterly, Annual) (pdf)

Iowa Withholding (VSP) (pdf)

Edits

Once a file is selected and uploaded, it will go through a 2-step process. The first step is a file preview, which performs some basic edits on the first 10 transactions in the file. It will assist in determining that the file’s field sequence is the same as what was defined and that the fields are formatted properly. The file is not "submitted" at this point and can be pulled back, corrected, and uploaded again.

Once the file is formatted properly, uploaded, then submitted, any transactions with errors will be identified with error codes. All valid transactions will be considered filed. Although a transaction may be valid, it is not necessarily accurate. The most common reasons why a transaction might not be accurate are penalty/interest not calculated accurately or not calculated at all, and prior payments for the quarter not agreeing with the amount claimed on the quarterly return. Penalty/interest not paid on deposits will either be billed directly or included on a quarter end statement. Underpayments at quarter end will be billed.

General Edits. The links for the deposit, return, and VSP file layout includes each field name and provide maximum field lengths, and an indication whether the field is required or optional. All fields except for the dollar fields (withholding amount through payment amount) must be of the maximum length. All required fields must be populated, even if zero. Transactions cannot be accepted until all format errors and other errors defined below are corrected.

All dollar fields must be whole dollars only, with the exception of the following fields, which can be defined as dollars only (No Implied Decimal) or dollars and cents (Implied Decimal). For both the Monthly / Semi-monthly and Quarterly / Annual screens, those fields are:

If cents are defined, it is recommended that they be defined to two places.

Monthly / Semi-Monthly Deposit Field Edits

Client Business eFile Number

(Required) Must be a valid 8-digit number issued by the Department and must be valid for the permit number being supplied.

Client Permit Number

(Required) Must be a valid permit number. This number is either the 9-digit FEIN of the client, plus a 3-digit suffix, or is a temporary number generated by the Department until the permit holder obtains a permanent FEIN from the federal government.

Period End

(Required) Must be in the MM/DD/CCYY format prescribed. Month must be two digits. For example, May is 05, not 5. A period being filed must be a valid period for that taxpayer; for example, a quarterly filer cannot file monthly deposits. A monthly filer must file deposits for the first two months of a quarter, followed by a quarterly return. A semi-monthly filer must file six deposits (two for each month of the quarter) followed by a quarterly return. A monthly or semi-monthly deposit can be filed late, but only up to the due date of the quarterly return for that quarter. For example, first quarter deposits can’t be filed after April 30.

Withholding This Period

(Required) Dollars only, up to nine characters.

Less Credits

(Required) Whole dollars, defined as a 10-digit field.  Credits taken are to be presented as a positive number.  Credits claimed cannot exceed withholding this period.

Balance Due

(Required) Dollars only. Withholding less Credits. Entries out of balance will be identified as an error.

Penalty

A 10% (failure to file timely) or 5% (failure to pay timely) penalty on the balance due should be included. This is an optional field. If penalty should be included, but isn’t, the transaction will be accepted, but penalty will be assessed either in the form of a billing of the deposit or included in a billing for the entire quarter.

Interest

Interest at the proper rate should be included where necessary, but like penalty is not required.

Total Amount Due

(Required) Balance due plus Penalty plus Interest. Entries out of balance will be identified as an error.

Payment Amount

The payment amount will usually be equal to Total Amount Due. However, a payment amount greater or less than Total Amount Due will be accepted.

Payment Date

The Payment Date can be any date from the current date up to and including the due date of the deposit. Any date beyond the due date for a timely payment will be identified as an error. If the Payment Date field is left blank, it will default to immediate payment. If a deposit is filed late, any payment made must be for the current date (or the date can be left blank).

Payment Method

(Required) Valid options are Z (zero tax due), E (electronic payment to be made with this transaction), M (a check will be mailed), or A (ACH Credit or credit card payment will be made separately). The Payment Method must match the Amount Due. For example, an amount due of zero can only have ‘Z’ as a valid option.

Bank Account Type

Valid values are C (checking) and S (savings). If payment method is ‘E’, a ‘C’ or ‘S’ must be present. A value entered with any other payment method will be ignored.

Bank Routing Number

If Payment Method is ‘E’, the Bank Routing Number must be present. It must be nine digits and must be a valid bank routing number. An invalid number or a number other than nine digits will result in an error. A value entered with any Payment Method other than ‘E’ will be ignored.

Bank Account Number

Again, if Payment Method is ‘E’, the Bank Account Number must be present. Any numeric value from 3 – 17 digits will be accepted. A value entered with any Payment Method other than ‘E’ will be ignored.

Quarterly/Annual Return Field Edits

Client Business eFile Number

(Required) Must be a valid 8-digit number issued by the Department and must be valid for the permit number being supplied.

Client Permit Number

(Required) Must be a valid permit number. This number is either the 9-digit FEIN of the client, plus a 3-digit suffix, or is a temporary number generated by the Department until the permit holder obtains a permanent FEIN from the federal government.

Period End

(Required) Must be in the MM/DD/CCYY format prescribed. Month must be two digits. For example, March is 03, not 3. A period being filed must be a valid period for that taxpayer. For example, an annual filer cannot file for a period other than the valid year end.

Return Type

(Required) Valid values are O (Original) and A (Amended). Filing an amended return type when no original has been filed (and vice versa) will result in an error. For amended returns, report the correct amount in all fields, not the difference between the correct amount and what was reported.

Withholding this Period

(Required) Dollars only, up to nine characters.

Less Deposits

Required) Dollars only, up to 10 digits. The net amount of deposits, debits, and overpayments carried forward from the prior quarter.

Less Credits

Whole dollars only, defined as a 10-digit field. Negative numbers are not allowed.  Credits are NJC-New jobs Credit, SJC- Supplemental Jobs Credit, Ace-Accelerated Career Education Credit, and /or TJC, Targeted Jobs Tax Credit.

Balance Due

(Required) Dollars only. Withholding less Credits. Entries out of balance will be identified as an error.

Penalty

A 10% (failure to file timely) or 5% (failure to pay timely) penalty on the balance due should be included. This is an optional field. If penalty should be included, but isn’t, the transaction will be accepted, but penalty will be assessed either in the form of a billing of the deposit or included in a billing for the entire quarter.

Interest

Interest at the proper rate should be included where necessary, but like penalty is not required.

Total Amount Due

(Required) Balance due plus Penalty plus Interest. Entries out of balance will be identified as an error.

Payment Amount

The payment amount will usually be equal to Total Amount Due. However, a payment amount greater or less than Total Amount Due will be accepted.

Payment Date

The Payment Date can be any date from the current date up to and including the due date of the deposit. Any date beyond the due date for a timely payment will be identified as an error. If the Payment Date field is left blank, it will default to immediate payment. If a deposit is filed late, any payment made must be for the current date (or the date can be left blank).

Payment Method

(Required) Valid options are Z (zero tax due), E (electronic payment to be made with this transaction), M (a check will be mailed), or A (ACH Credit or credit card payment will be made separately). The Payment Method must match the Amount Due. For example, an amount due of zero can only have ‘Z’ as a valid option.

Bank Account Type

Valid values are C (checking) and S (savings). If payment method is ‘E’, a ‘C’ or ‘S’ must be present. A value entered with any other payment method will be ignored.

Bank Routing Number

If Payment Method is ‘E’, the Bank Routing Number must be present. It must be nine digits and must be a valid bank routing number. An invalid number or a number other than nine digits will result in an error. A value entered with any Payment Method other than ‘E’ will be ignored.

Bank Account Number

Again, if Payment Method is ‘E’, the Bank Account Number must be present. Any numeric value from 3 – 17 digits will be accepted. A value entered with any Payment Method other than ‘E’ will be ignored.

Certificate/Credits

29-digit repeatable field beginning with a 2-digit identifier (cc) then 12-digit certificate number assigned with a 5-digit code identifying the credit program (including spaces if less than 5 digits) and then a 10-digit credit amount starting with zero.

VSP (Verified Summary of Payments)

Client Business eFile Number

(Required) Must be a valid 8-digit number issued by the Department and must be valid for the permit number being supplied.

Client Permit Number

(Required) Must be a valid permit number. This number is either the 9-digit FEIN of the client, plus a 3-digit suffix, or is a temporary number generated by the Department until the permit holder obtains a permanent FEIN from the federal government.

Period End

(Required) Must be in the MM/DD/CCYY format prescribed. The Period End for a VSP can only be the end of the calendar year (12/31/20YY).

IA Withholding on W2s/1099s

(Required) Dollars only, up to nine digits. The total withholding on W2s and 1099s for the year.

Credits

(Required) Dollars only, up to nine digits. The total amount of credits eligible to be claimed for the tax year.

Withholding Payments

(Required) Dollars only, up to nine digits. The total amount of payments made for the year, less any debits or refunds issued.

Total Credits/Payments

(Required) Dollars only, up to nine digits. The figure entered here must equal the sum of Credits plus Withholding Payments or it will result in an error.

Return Type

(Required) Valid values are O (Original) and A (Amended). Filing an amended return type when no original has been filed (and vice versa) will result in an error.

Confirmation of Valid Transactions

Each transaction successfully submitted will be provided with a unique 10-digit confirmation number. The confirmation numbers can be viewed and saved at the View Results link. There will be no other acknowledgement sent.

Obtaining Client BENs

As explained in the Edit instructions, service providers need to provide the Business eFile Number (BEN) of each client at the time transactions are submitted. There are two ways to obtain the BENs of clients:

  1. Request the BEN from each client. The Department sends each registered taxpayer a letter containing their unique 8-digit BEN and they should have it on file.
  2. If a client is unable to provide their BEN, you may contact the Department with the name and permit number of that client(s). The Department will then provide the corresponding client BEN(s).

Note: A current Power of Attorney form (pdf) must be on file with the Department for the person in your company who is requesting the client’s BEN.

To request BENs for fewer than 50 clients, please contact the Department’s Taxpayer Services at:

To request BENs for 50 or more clients, you may submit a file of your clients to the Department’s Revenue Operations Division. The Department will return the registration status, BEN, and current filing frequency for each registered client. Specific information on this file exchange is available here.