General and form-related guidelines for 1120 electronic filing

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The following links provide information about miscellaneous guidelines that do not refer to specific input screens, as well as links to information about IRS limitations to the number of characters that can be entered in certain fields. Follow these guidelines to create IRS-acceptable electronic files. A more complete list of these guidelines can be found in IRS Publication 4163, Modernized e-File (MeF) Information for Authorized IRS e-file Providers for Business Returns and IRS Publication 4164, Modernized e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers And Transmitters.

Note: Further information is available at the IRS website at

  • Alpha characters consist of the upper-case letters A through Z. No other characters are allowed in alpha-only fields. Few fields are alpha-only fields.
  • Numeric characters consist of the numbers 0 through 9. These characters are used in all of the numeric information fields.
  • Alphanumeric characters consist of the upper-case letters A through Z and numbers 0 through 9. These characters are allowed in most text fields.
  • Special characters generally include ampersand (&), apostrophe ('), hyphen (-), parentheses [()], and single space, among others. The IRS does not allow certain special characters such as percent (%) and subsection (§), among others.

Note: UltraTax CS strips invalid characters from fields and converts all lower-case characters to upper-case characters in the electronic file.

Attached text is not recognized in the electronic return. Use the statement dialog for the Preparer notes field in Screen ELF or the statement dialog for the General footnote field in Screen 1120 to enter general information to be included with the electronic tax return.

Note: To include text in the Michigan MBT electronic file, use the statement dialog for the General Footnote field in the General Information Section in Screen MKGen.

The IRS allows only binary attachments (as a PDF file) to be attached to the electronic file. Refer to IRS Publication 4164 for more information about binary attachments. For information about how to include binary attachments with the electronic file in UltraTax/1120, see Attaching Portable Document Format (PDF) documents to the electronic file.

Modifying the government collation has no effect on the contents of the electronic file. The electronic file will still contain all forms and schedules that are included in the default government collation. However, you can modify what prints on paper for the government collation at the time you create the electronic file. We strongly recommend you use the default collation. If you have modified the print collation and would like to return to the application defaults, choose Setup > 1120 Corporation and click the Tax Return button. Then, in the Return Collation dialog, click the Restore Default button.

For more information, see Customizing the print collation for returns filed electronically.
The IRS's 1120 electronic filing program requires a name control field for the corporation's name. The calculated value is displayed in the Name control field in Screen ELF. Due to the complicated nature of the name control specifications, UltraTax CS may not calculate the name control fields correctly. UltraTax CS provides a field in Screen ELF to override the calculated value, if necessary.

Refer to IRS Publication 4163, Modernized e-File Information for Authorized IRS e-file Providers for Business Returns, for a complete discussion about how the name control field is created.
The corporation name may contain any alpha characters (A-Z), numeric characters (0-9), and the following symbols: backslash (/), hyphen (-), parentheses [( )], ampersand (&), apostrophe ('), and single spaces.

Note: The corporation name cannot contain spaces at the beginning or end of the name fields, adjacent spaces anywhere within the name, or any symbols not previously listed.

If a shareholder's or corporation's name contains a title or suffix that can be expressed as a numeric relationship, convert the title or suffix to a Roman numeral. For example, enter Jim Smith 3rd as Jim Smith III.

For an address to be valid for electronic filing, the address must include the city, state, and ZIP code. If any of this information is missing, the IRS will reject the return.
You must use the two-digit foreign country code wherever a country name is required on a form. Refer to IRS Publication 4163, Modernized e-File (MeF) Information for Authorized IRS e-file Providers for Business Returns, Exhibit 2, for a complete list of foreign country codes.

Related topic: Entering data for 1120 electronic returns overview

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