Tax professionals that produce returns for electronic transmission are called Electronic Return Originators (EROs). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must approve all EROs.
How to become an authorized Electronic Return Originator (ERO) with the State of Wisconsin
- Tax professionals must complete an online application with the IRS to participate in the Authorized
e-file Provider Program. For more information about the IRS application process, visit the IRS website or call toll free at (866) 255-0654.
- Once the IRS has accepted you as an ERO, you will automatically be accepted as an authorized ERO in Wisconsin. As a tax professional, you should be in good standing with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) for both business and personal tax liabilities.
- The IRS has a database on their website for taxpayers to locate an ERO in their area. Check out their website at
irs.gov/e-file-providers/authorized-irs-e-file-provider-locator-service-for-tax-professionals to see if you are on the data base and your information is correct. If you need to add or change any information, follow the instructions the IRS provides on their web page.
Steps to electronically file Wisconsin income tax returns
Tax professionals select their tax preparation software.
Software developers create tax preparation software with the capability to transmit electronic returns using an Internet connection or a modem. Tax professionals purchase this software and use it to prepare federal and state returns.
All e-filing software that includes Wisconsin must pass testing with both the IRS and DOR.
- For more information about choosing electronic filing software, visit the IRS website for
- For information about approved Wisconsin software, please review the table below.
Tax professionals electronically transmit tax return information.
A federal and state return can be transmitted together as one electronic message to the IRS in one of two ways:
- Direct transmission to the IRS. EROs choosing the "direct" transmission method will have to test the compatibility of their modems with the IRS.
- Transmission to a third party software company. EROs choosing the "third party" method do not have to go through compatibility testing with the IRS.
Wisconsin electronic returns are processed at the IRS Service Center in Kansas City, MO.
IRS receives the electronic transmission, matches the social security number to the name on the return, and acknowledges receipt of the federal return.
Once the IRS receives the transmission, the federal return is either accepted or rejected based on established criteria. The IRS will generate a federal acknowledgment that indicates receipt of the return as well as its processing status. If the federal return is rejected, the acknowledgment will state why and list the detected errors.
Note: The DOR does not receive any state return information associated with a rejected federal return.
Information about ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:
- If returns are transmitted to a software company, the federal and state acknowledgments will be sent back to the software company. EROs retrieve federal and state acknowledgments from their software providers.
- If the returns are transmitted directly to the IRS, the federal and state acknowledgment will be sent directly back to the ERO.
federal acknowledgment is issued within
24 hours of the original transmission.
Wisconsin acknowledgments will be available
24 to 72 hours after transmission of tax returns.
Wisconsin Department of Revenue receives the state return from the IRS.
The Wisconsin tax return data associated with an
accepted federal return will be forwarded to DOR for processing. This usually occurs the same day as the federal acceptance. DOR processes returns received from the IRS Monday-Friday.
A State-Only return may be filed, if your software developer supports it.
The return is still transmitted through the IRS. Transmissions must be accomplished according to IRS procedures. All Wisconsin returns must include a copy of the corresponding federal return in the unformatted records. Possible reasons to file a State-Only return:
- No federal filing requirement
- Federal return has already been filed
- Filing as married filing separate
- Original state filing was rejected
In the State-Only program, the state data is made available to Wisconsin DOR within 24 hours for retrieval.
If your software vendor supports State-Only and your Wisconsin return was rejected, you can resubmit the return.
Form W-RA - Wisconsin required attachments for electronic filing.
If the Wisconsin return claims certain credits or deductions (listed on the
Form W-RA), there are required documents that must be submitted to the Wisconsin DOR within 48 hours after receiving the Wisconsin acknowledgement. Your software should produce a Form W-RA when needed.
Use one of the following three options to submit the Form W-RA and required documents to us:
- Attach it as a PDF to the tax return
- Mail it to the address given on the Form W-RA
- Electronically submit it through the W-RA Submission process in
My Tax Account
Note: If you choose to submit the Wisconsin return by mail,
do not include a W-RA cover letter along with it. This may delay processing.
In all other instances, the ERO or taxpayer must retain for four years all income statements, such as W-2s, 1099s, etc., Form 8332 (Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent) and any other documents that would normally be attached to a paper return to support the information on the tax return. DOR may request these documents from the ERO or taxpayer at a later date.
Wisconsin Department of Revenue
Electronic Filing Unit
PO Box 8949
Madison, WI 53708-8949
Income Tax Customer Service Phone: (608) 266-2486
Business Tax Customer Service Phone: (608) 266-2776
Customer Service Fax: (608) 267-1030
February 8, 2021