Preparing 1040 electronic returns (including batch processing)

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Follow this procedure to ensure that you have entered all data specifically required for electronic returns and to create the electronic file for one client or for multiple clients (batch processing).

Note: This procedure assumes you have completed the one-time initial setup procedure that defines the electronic filing configuration. See Defining the 1040 electronic filing configuration for more information.

  1. Enter the client's tax data as usual, making sure you adhere to the guidelines for entering data.
  2. Click the Electronic Filing folder.
  3. Click the ELF tab to open Screen ELF.
  4. Enter X in the File this return electronically field.
  5. If you use the Self-Select or Practitioner Personal Identification Number (PIN) option, click the PIN tab and enter the PIN and other required information.
  6. Choose View > Diagnostics to review the diagnostic messages in the Federal Diagnostics window. Click any item displayed in the window to open the corresponding screen to address the diagnostic message. Verify that you have cleared all Critical and ELF Critical diagnostic messages and have reviewed the FYI diagnostic messages and then close the Federal Diagnostics window.
  7. Choose File > Print Returns or click the Print Print button button to open the Print Returns dialog.
  8. When you create the electronic file, UltraTax CS automatically creates the state electronic file, if appropriate. UltraTax CS generates a state FYI diagnostic that indicates a state electronic file was created. You have the option to file a paper return for the state and suppress the creation of the state electronic file.


    • You can create state electronic files without electronically creating the federal return so you can file electronic state returns for clients who do not need to file a federal return. To select this option, in Screen ELF, enter X in the Suppress the creation of: Federal electronic file(s) when only filing a state return /extension electronically field. UltraTax CS suppresses the creation of the federal return and creates any state return not suppressed on the state electronic filing screen.
    • For state electronic filing information, refer to the State Electronic Filing Guide on our website.
    • By default, the government collation includes only the forms required to be submitted to the taxing authority when an electronic return is filed. To modify these collations, choose Setup > 1040 Individual to open the 1040 Product Information dialog. Then, click the desired tab (Federal or state), and click the Tax Return button to modify the print collation for all electronic returns. For information about editing these collations, see Customizing the print collation for returns filed electronically. Thomson Reuters strongly recommends that you use the default collation. This will not affect which forms are included in the electronic file.
    • Two Portable Document Format (PDF) file attachments are created when the following conditions exist: you do not print the government copy to paper; you electronically file the return; and you deliver a client copy of the return via email, as a file, or through a web portal. One of the PDF attachments is an archive copy of the return for the client's records; the other PDF attachment contains items that require action by your client. For example, Form 8879 would be included in an attachment with the filing instructions to assist the client in printing, signing, and returning the form to your office.
    • With some tax returns, the IRS requires you to submit additional paperwork to the taxing authority.
  9. Mark the Government copy and the Create electronic file checkboxes.


    • If (a) you use CS Connect to transmit the return, (b) you want to have the return checked for electronic filing errors, and (c) you want to create the electronic file only without printing forms, mark only the Government copy and Create electronic file checkboxes in the Print Returns dialog. You must click the E-File button in the Print Returns dialog. If you click the Print or Preview button in the toolbar or choose File > Preview, the application does not generate the electronic file.
    • If you use a third-party application vendor to transmit returns, mark the Create electronic file (for 3rd Party) checkbox to create the electronic file. The third-party vendor is responsible for checking for errors.
  10. Click the Options button, and verify that the appropriate Federal and any state checkboxes are marked.

    Note: If you are creating the FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), clear the Federal and any state checkboxes, and mark the FinCEN Form 114 checkbox.

  11. To create electronic files for multiple clients at the same time, click the Clients button and select the appropriate clients.
  12. Click the Print (or E-File) button. When you click the Print button, UltraTax CS creates the electronic file and checks for errors in the electronic file. To have the return checked for errors without creating the electronic file, click the Preview (or Check E-File) button.


    • When UltraTax CS creates electronic files, the application automatically deletes any untransmitted electronic files for a client. UltraTax CS notifies you of the returns to be deleted. If you want to abort creation of the new electronic files and keep the existing files, click Cancel. Otherwise, click OK to delete the untransmitted electronic files and create new files.
    • If you use a third-party application vendor to transmit 1040 returns, UltraTax CS places the electronic file in the location you specified in the Setup > User Preferences > File Locations tab. See Changing the location of electronic files for third-party application vendor transmissions for more information.
    • If you use a third-party application vendor as your transmitter, the electronic file is created without checking for errors when you print the return. The third-party application vendor checks for errors in these returns.

For information about resolving electronic filing errors and rejections, see the E-File Help Center > Resolving E-File Errors > 1040 Individual page.

Note: Do not file a copy of an extension with the return electronic file. The IRS does not provide the electronic file specifications necessary to do so. Also, the Form 4868 instructions, Page 2 state, "Do not attach a copy of Form 4868 to your return."

Related topic: Creating the 1040 electronic file and correcting errors overview

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