To prepare for the upcoming tax season for tax year 2016, our Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax Online (PTO) chat support team has identified the top five most frequently asked questions they receive on a day-to-day basis. The questions center on e-file Identification Number (EFIN) registration, the new Advanced Organizer, Intuit Link, QuickBooks® Online Accountant to PTO integration and understanding program functionality. We hope you can use this information in your own use of PTO.
Q: How do I register to electronically file tax returns?
As part of Intuit’s continuing commitment to work with the IRS, various states and the tax preparation profession to eliminate tax fraud, Intuit requires all tax professional customers to have IRS documentation of EFIN registration on file before they can e-file through Intuit’s professional tax products, including PTO. In addition, customers must submit EFIN documentation when requesting changes on their account. The firm name and business address must match the IRS EFIN Application Summary.
To protect the EFIN account and taxpayer data, we require that all Electronic Return Originators (EROs) verify their EFIN before e-filing. If you are new to e-filing, you’ll need to provide the verification before beginning to e-file.
How do you know if you need to provide EFIN verification? If you answer “yes” to any of the following, then you need to provide verification:
- If you have been e-filing with Intuit and have not previously submitted verification.
- If you make changes to your EFIN Application Summary.
- If you have been notified by mail or email.
- If you receive one of these two e-file messages below within the program: “853 Oops! The EFIN has not been registered to your Account! Please verify your EFIN with us. See details at: IntuitAccountants.com/EFIN-Facts Allow 1-2 business days to enable” or “854 Attention! Your E-filing privileges have been temporarily disabled by Intuit. Please verify the 1 EFIN number associated to your account at IntuitAccountants.com/EFIN-Facts”
There is no need to provide EFIN verification if you only plan to paper file.
To begin the EFIN verification process, click the “EFIN Registration” link on the left side of the PTO program, as illustrated below. A new page will open for inputting ERO information, as well as attaching a copy of the EFIN Application Summary from the IRS e-Services site. The second image illustrates the input fields for completion.
Q: Are there any updates to PTO this year that will help me collect data from my clients?
The new Advanced Organizer allows the preparer to customize requests for tax information based on prior year information. The requests sent to the taxpayer will ask for information that is relevant for his or her own tax situation. In addition, prior year tax information will be leveraged to build a list of documents to request for the upcoming tax year. Tax topics are grouped together to help configure additional questions based on life changes that may impact the client’s tax situation.
Availability of the new Advanced Organizer for transmitting to clients is expected in the coming weeks. You can begin the Organizer setup process now by clicking the “Organizer Setup” link on the left side of the program screen, as illustrated below:
After clicking the “Organizer Setup” link, you will have the opportunity to set up the default engagement letter, organizer questions and invitation email. Once these are set up, make sure to click the “Save” button at the bottom of the program screen to save your changes. More information on the Advanced Organizer can be found here.
Q: I’ve heard that Link can simplify data collection for me and my clients. What is this tool, and how do I access it?
Intuit Link allows for tax preparers and clients to share tax data within a single and secure portal. Link allows for tax clients to send forms and answer questions for the tax preparer, while also allowing for the client to complete accountant’s organizer questionnaires. The benefits of using Link include the following:
- It supports data collection between accountants and their taxpayers.
- Link alleviates the stress of the back-and-forth attempts by the accountant to get information from clients.
- Information can be shared securely.
The Intuit Link program for PTO can be accessed by clicking on “Intuit Link” on the left side of the program screen, as illustrated below:
Link can also be accessed from within a return by clicking the “Data Request” button in the top right corner of the program screen, as shown below:
For more information on Link, you can refer to this article.
Q: What does the integration between QuickBooks Online Accountant and PTO mean for me and my practice?
The new QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) and PTO integration simplifies your practice and saves you time. You can now view and manage your tax clients inside QBOA. Clients with tax returns will appear under the “Tax Returns” column in the list of clients, as illustrated below. This new “Tax Returns” column inside QBOA now lets you:
- View all PTO tax returns inside QBOA (it’s already there – you don’t need to do anything).
- View all PTO statuses (self-selected and e-file statuses) to manage your clients in QBOA.
- See the statuses that you change within PTO updated in QBOA.
- Have one-click access to your PTO returns from within QBOA.
The QBOA Client Detail page shows more details about your PTO clients, including access to prior year engagements.
Note: Once you begin using QBOA as your single place to manage all your clients, you will no longer see a PTO client list. The “Clients” link will no longer show on the left side of PTO.
For more information about how to streamline your QBOA year-end process and automatically move your QBO account balances easily using Trial Balance, click here.
Using the new Trial Balance Utility in QBOA, the tax preparer is able to generate a tax return for PTO. The easiest way to create a new return is to click the “2016: Start tax return” link under the Tax Return column in QBOA, as shown below:
Q: I just switched to PTO. How can me and my staff get up to speed?
We also have a lineup of webinar topics that can aid with your skills to use PTO. These webinars will be conducted roughly two times per month, and are listed here.
Additional free training videos can be found here. This site can also be accessed by clicking the “?” icon in the top right corner of the PTO screen and then selecting, “ProConnect Tax Training Center.”
The Intuit PTO Support site provides information for new customers, as well as trending topics, season readiness, e-file alerts and information, ACA Topics, and eSignature topics. Additional support topics for PTO can be found here.
This site can also be found by clicking the “?” icon in the top right corner of the PTO screen and then selecting, “Ask Intuit.”
Other resources are available under the “?” menu, including E-file resources and Live Chat.
For up-to-date information on these areas, please feel free to view the information under “Trending Topics” at the PTO Support Site, or contact our chat support team by clicking the “Live Chat” selection on the left side of the program screen, or under the “?” in the top right corner of the program screen.
Have a great tax season!