Attaching Portable Document Format (PDF) files to electronic files

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To attach a PDF file to the federal electronic file, follow these steps.


  • The document you attach must be a PDF file.
  • The PDF file name must be less than 49 characters and cannot contain two consecutive spaces.
  • Per IRS Publication 4164, each individual PDF file cannot exceed 60 megabytes uncompressed. To prevent a possible transmission delay, we recommend that attachments are less than 10 megabytes in size.
  • The option to attach PDF files to an electronic file is available for 1040, 1041, 1120, 1065, 990, 5500, and 2290 returns. 

Video overview

The following video outlines the process described in the steps below.

Steps to attach PDFs

  1. In UltraTax CS, choose Edit > Electronic Filing Attachments.

    Note: If Electronic Filing Attachments is not enabled, open Screen ELF in the Electronic Filing folder for the client's return, and mark the File this return electronically field.

  2. Click the Add button.
  3. In the Product field, select Federal or the applicable state application from the drop-down list.
  4. In the Return field, select the form related to the location of the attachment from the drop-down list. If the specific form is not listed in the drop-down list, select Tax Return.
  5. In the Attachment title drop-down list, select the specific title of the document from the list of attachments that the taxing authorities require for electronically filed returns. If the attachment title is not in the drop-down list, enter a descriptive name for the attachment in this field.

    Note: For 5500 returns, all documents are listed in the drop-down list for the Attachment title field. You must use only the attachment titles listed in the drop-down list for the Attachment title field.

  6. If the document was scanned into FileCabinet CS, click the FileCabinet CS option and then click the Select button to select the appropriate document. If the document was not scanned into FileCabinet CS, click the File option and click the Browse button to navigate to the location of the document you want to attach.

    If the attachment is not saved as a PDF file, the file will not be listed when you click the Browse button. The attachment must be a PDF file to attach the document to the electronic file; you cannot attach scanned images to the electronic file.


    • If you are running UltraTax CS through Virtual Office CS or Software as a Service (SaaS), you can navigate to files on your local network. Your local drive will be listed with a $ after the drive letter (for example, C$ on Client V for your local C drive).
    • If you want to proforma this attachment next year, mark the Proforma information to next year checkbox.
  7. Click OK to return to the Electronic Filing Attachments dialog.
  8. Click the View Attachment button to view the PDF file that will be included in the electronic file. Repeat steps 2 - 7 to add more attachments.
  9. When you are done, click OK to close the dialog. Now, when you create the electronic file, the attachments will be included as part of the file.

Forms allowed as PDF attachments

For information about binary attachments for electronic files, refer to the following IRS publications and UltraTax CS frequently asked questions.

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