1040-US: Submitting state forms with UPCs or bar codes

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Question

My state forms look different than in previous years. They have strange lines on them, or they have a big box with a lot of numbers inside. Are these forms submittable?

Answer

Several states have modified their forms so they can utilize scanning equipment to process returns. Some states have added bar codes that are symbols similar to Universal Pricing Codes, or UPCs, which consist of several lines, or bars, which represent numbers. Many states have modified their forms so they can utilize two-dimensional (2D) bar code scanning equipment. These bar codes are similar to UPCs, but the lines are broken into smaller squares of data which represent amounts or other data on the return. Still other states have added what are called scan bands which are regions typically near the top of the form that contain data from the various lines of the form. These regions are typically identified with the title "For computerized use only." The state processes these returns through scanning equipment that captures the data. This increases accuracy and eliminates the need for manual entry of these returns. If your state forms contain any of these symbols, submit original documents, not photocopies. Photocopies or poor quality paper can delay the processing of the return.

Related topic: 1040 state - Common data entry questions

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