I'm ready to e-file a return. How do I proceed?
You can e-file from the current and two prior years of Drake Tax. During the 2021 tax year, you can e-file a 2021, 2020, or 2019 return from the corresponding year of Drake Tax. All other prior years must be paper-filed.
Assuming that you are e-filing a main federal form (such as the 1040, 1120, 1120-S, 1065, etc), there are four steps to e-filing:
- Confirm that the return is complete and eligible to be e-filed.
- View the return, clear any red messages, and calculate the return and ensure that a green check is beside all desired forms.
- Select the return for e-filing under EF > Select Returns for EF.
- A report generates showing the return(s) that have been selected for EF. No returns have been transmitted at this point.
Note: Starting in Drake18, if you return to data entry and make changes to a return that has already been selected for EF, but not transmitted, you will receive a pop-up that states that the return was removed from the "queue" and must be re-selected from EF > Select Returns for EF.
- Transmit the return by going to EF > Transmit/Receive.
- Take a moment to ensure that only returns that should be transmitted are showing.
- Note that once a return is transmitted, it goes directly to the IRS and cannot be stopped or recalled.
- You can remove returns by clicking Review.
- When you are ready to transmit, click the Send/Receive button.
- A transmission report will show for a brief moment during transmission. This report is generated for record keeping purposes. You can see a copy of the transmission report by going to Reports > Report Viewer > Transmission Reports.
- Important: Once you click Send/Receive, there is no way to cancel the transmission.
- Process acknowledgments by going to EF > Process Acks.
- This will show you the pending acknowledgement report for the returns that were transmitted and pull in any waiting IRS or state acks from previously filed returns.
Once the January release is available, you can file returns even before the IRS opens their e-file system. Any returns filed this way will have the acknowledgement code 'P' until the IRS opens their e-filing system.
You can check for additional acknowledgements later on by going to EF > Transmit/Receive and clicking Acks Only. Always process those acks by going to EF > Process acks after picking them up.
These steps are also outlined in a PDF attachment to this article, "Four Steps to e-Filing." See Attachments below to download and view it.
- Clear the option Combine EF steps (Select, Transmit, Post Acks) on the EF tab at Setup > Options. If EF steps are combined, you won't be able to follow the instructions in the attachment. Confirm that the option box is not checked; clear it if it is checked.
- Ensure that the return is complete and contains no red message pages in View.
- Make sure the tax software is completely up to date. Go to Tools > Update Manager, and select Get Updates. If updates are available, install them now.
- Recalculate the return to ensure all updates have been applied to the return.