General and form-related guidelines for 1040 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 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 4164, Modernized e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers And Transmitters, and IRS Publication 1345, Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers of Individual Income Tax Returns.

For information about specific 1040 states, including application procedures, how each state files its electronic returns, the types of returns that are allowed, and the timeframes in which 1040 state electronic returns are to be filed, see State general electronic filing information.

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 (&), backslash (\), hyphen (-), and percent (%), among others. The IRS may or may not allow certain special characters. For additional information, refer to IRS Publication 4164, Modernized e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers And Transmitters.

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

Client notes, attached text, and custom statements entered in UltraTax CS are not recognized in the electronic return. Use the dialog for the Preparer notes field in Screen ELF or the statement dialog for the General footnote field in Screen 1040 to enter general information to be included in the electronic tax return.

By default, the following forms print on an as-needed basis in the government collation for electronically filed 1040 returns: 8453 (if the attachment of certain documents is necessary); 1040-ES; 1040V; 1098-C; 2350; 2848; 3115; 4852; 4868; 8283, Page 2; 8332; 8379; 8821; 8858; and 8898.

We strongly recommend you use the default collations. If you have modified the print collation and would like to return to the application defaults, choose Setup > 1040 Individual and click the Tax Return button in the Federal tab. In the Return Collation dialog, click the Restore Default button. This will have no effect on the collation within the electronic file.

For more information, see Customizing the print collation for returns filed electronically.

The IRS's 1040 electronic filing program requires a name control field for names on Forms W-2, W-2G, W-2PR, FEC, 1098-C, 1099, and 2439 within the electronic file. The Electronic Filing utility calculates the name control based on the name entered in Screens W-2, W-2G, FEC, 1098C, 1099R, and 2439. If the calculated value is not identical to the name control value in the IRS's database, the IRS will reject the return.

Due to the complicated nature of the name control specifications, UltraTax CS may have difficulty calculating the name control field correctly for payers who are partnerships or trusts. If the return is rejected, you must either correct the name in the input screen or override the name control on the respective form for electronic filing.

Refer to IRS Publication 4164, Modernized e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers And Transmitters, for a complete discussion about how the name control field is created.

For electronic filing purposes, you must enter the name exactly as it appears on the Social Security card. Failure to follow this guideline will cause the IRS to reject the client's return.

  • If the taxpayer, spouse, or dependent name has a title or suffix, such as Jr., enter a comma after the last name, then a space, and then the suffix. For example, enter Wilson Jr. as Wilson, Jr.
  • Enter certain foreign suffixes as part of the last name. Examples include: Armah Bey, Paz Ayala, and Aller Sid.
  • Pay particular attention to names that incorporate a mother's maiden name as the suffix to the last name. (This practice is common in names of Spanish origin.) In these instances, enter the mother's maiden name as part of the last name.
  • Do not enter middle names in the last name field; instead, enter middle names as part of the first name. For example, certain Indo Chinese names have a middle name of "Van" (male) or "Thi" (female) that you would enter as part of the first name.

Refer to IRS Publication 4164, Modernized e-File (MeF) Guide for Software Developers And Transmitters, for more information about IRS data-entry specifications.

In certain circumstances, you will need to override amounts on Form 1099-R when you are filing a client's return electronically. These include instances in which:

  • you want to enter a code in Screen 1099R, box 7 different from the code shown on your copy of the 1099.
  • the state distribution on Form 1099-R, line 12 is not the same as the federal distribution.
  • the local distribution on Form 1099-R, line 15 is not the same as the federal distribution.

    Note: Form 1099-R is included in the electronic file only when there is federal or state withholding or distribution code 3. Due to state requirements, UltraTax CS also includes Forms 1099-R in the electronic file when certain states are attached to the return.

In Screen 1040 in the General folder, the following data entry is required for a foreign address.

Field Entry
State postal code "." represents a foreign address.
Foreign country code/name Enter the foreign country name and the foreign country code. This field is required.
Foreign province/county Enter the foreign province or county.
Foreign postal code Enter the foreign postal code.
Address indicator "3" represents a foreign address.

Note: When you enter data in the Foreign province or the Foreign country field, UltraTax CS automatically updates the State postal code field and, if blank, the Address indicator field.

UltraTax CS provides two options for using a non-paid preparer for electronic filing.

Related topic: Entering data for 1040 electronic returns overview

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