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Information for Bulk Filers


Bulk File Specifications
W-2 Reporting Errors
FAQs - General Filing Requirements
FAQs - Technical Requirements

eFile & Pay

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

Service Providers File W-2 Information Using Web Upload

At the eFile & Pay website, submit a fixed length file of clients’ W-2 and 1099 information.  Iowa file specifications conform to the Social Security Administration's EFW2 format. 

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 website. 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 be able to upload client W-2 and 1099 files.


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.  All valid transactions will be considered filed.

Receipt of File Confirmation

For each file Iowa receives, Iowa posts a corresponding results file. If there are issues with your data, the results file will report why your file (or parts of it) was rejected; error messages will be listed accordingly. You will need to correct the errors and resubmit a new file.

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:

  • Phone: 515-281-3114 or 1-800-367-3388

To request BENs for 50 or more clients, you may submit a file of your clients to the Department. The Department will return BEN for each registered client.Specific information on this file exchange is available here.

 PLEASE NOTE:  All employers with W-2s and/or 1099s with Iowa withholding will be required for tax year 2018.