What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

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neurosphere
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What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by neurosphere »

[I'm pulling a off-topic discussion over from another thread to this new one]

Btw, talraza, I've have been meaning to write a new post related to MeF files, with which it seems you are the most familiar poster here on BH! I'm curious to know exactly what data gets transmitted when I e-file a 1040 form. E.g. if I get a 1099 and enter it into the software (taxact in this case)....what if the EIN is accurate but the address is not correct. For example, for the same EIN Vanguard changed the address that appears on the form. Does the IRS receive the address I input in my software? Or simply the EIN? Anyway, a discussion for another post I think. :D
talraza wrote:[this is to tag talraza]
Makefile wrote:Are you talking about a 1099-R? I don't believe any other kinds of 1099s get transmitted.
jebmke wrote:I’ve done hundreds of returns over the years and never enter EIN or address for Divs and Ints. Rs, Misc, NEC and some other minor ones I do.

In fact, for our personal Divs I don’t even put in the institution name. I use:

JEBMKE Brok
Joint Brok
Mrs JEB Brok
etc.
My question related to ALL the various 1099s, 1098s, W2s and other supporting documentation I enter into my tax software. For example, I've only ever used taxact for my personal returns. It won't allow me to e-file unless I enter an EIN for just about any 1099. It also require me to enter addresses for the sender, or it won't e-file. I fail the alerts.

Once I associate a certain address with an EIN (even on previous year returns), I only have to enter the EIN on subsequent forms and it pulls the address for me.

So I'm wondering what actual data gets transmitted to the IRS? Is this a taxact requirement? Or an IRS requirement? And should I just enter dummy values for everything? I would save a lot of time if I just entered 12-3456789 for each 1099?

What about mortgage statements? Do I have to enter the year the loan was taken out, the loan balance, etc? Because the only data used on the return is the mortgage interest.

The IRS has this to say about the MeF format:
https://www.irs.gov/e-file-providers/modernized-e-file-overview wrote:Each line or data element on every IRS form is given an XML name tag.
Every instance of supporting data is defined and given an XML name tag.
IRS and/or contractors use the name tags to create XML schemas.
I was able to dig into the details of all the data elements required for 1099s reported directly to the IRS by payors and can see that ein, address, and all the other fields on the form are sent to the IRS. So I'm wondering what happens when I enter that same 1099-NEC (or any other form) into my personal return. Does the supporting info get transmitted?

I have only one data point for this. I once filed a return that had a schedule H. My software pre-filled the payor on the return as the same person filing the 1040. E.g. Anne Smith and Anne's SS#. However, Smith was a new married name. The W2 that was issued to the household employee was in the name of Anne Jones (maiden name). The IRS rejected the return because the name of at the top of the schedule H did not match their records. When I changed the name on the Schedule H to the maiden name, the return was accepted. So I know that the name on the Schedule H was a separate data element transmitted to the IRS.

Actually, I just did a test in taxact. The software requires an EIN and address on W2s received. But does NOT on 1099-INTs, DIVs, NECs, and 1098s. So maybe that answers part of my question. I seem to always start with the W2s, and the EIN and address fields are clearly marked as required (by background color) and I can't leave the form until they are complete. So when I move onto other documents I just assumed the same data was required. But at least it's not marked as such in the software. Interesting! This is going to save me time (next year ha ha, I've already entered that data for this year)! Although, it's nice to have a full "backup" of my tax documents in the software.

But I still very much would like to learn what gets transmitted. Perhaps the non-required data IS transmitted but it's not checked/required by the IRS?
If you have to ask "Is a Target Date fund right for me?", the answer is "Yes" (even in taxable accounts).
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by jebmke »

I have a very fuzzy memory of a post recently that indicated that retail tax packages do not use the MeF system. I may be misremembering.
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by Geologist »

I think the IRS uses the EINs to match your return to the 1099's it receives from the payers, so if you omit them or input dummy values, it will lead to match failures and will lead to correspondence to you from the IRS for failure to report. You can then write correspondence to fix the issue but why would you want to go through that?
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by neurosphere »

jebmke wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:50 am I have a very fuzzy memory of a post recently that indicated that retail tax packages do not use the MeF system. I may be misremembering.
That would be useful to confirm!

I looked it up (https://www.taxact.com/support/310/2023 ... yout=False)
The IRS Modernized e-Filing (MeF) system allows you to receive notification of federal acceptance or rejection almost instantaneously. When a return is transmitted through the MeF system, notifications of acceptance contain a Federal Submission ID instead of a Declaration Control Number (DCN).
I found my email acceptance from the IRS last year and it includes a submission ID. So I assume taxact uses MeF.
If you have to ask "Is a Target Date fund right for me?", the answer is "Yes" (even in taxable accounts).
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by jebmke »

Geologist wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:51 am I think the IRS uses the EINs to match your return to the 1099's it receives from the payers, so if you omit them or input dummy values, it will lead to match failures and will lead to correspondence to you from the IRS for failure to report. You can then write correspondence to fix the issue but why would you want to go through that?
for some 1099s yes. Others, I think not. I've never encountered matching issues with Divs and Ints (or B I think, I don't enter an EIN for B entries but they will reconcile what they have with Schedule D)
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by neurosphere »

Geologist wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:51 am I think the IRS uses the EINs to match your return to the 1099's it receives from the payers, so if you omit them or input dummy values, it will lead to match failures and will lead to correspondence to you from the IRS for failure to report. You can then write correspondence to fix the issue but why would you want to go through that?
I definitely do NOT want to go through that. But if I can avoid typing in the address or dozens of other items, I'd like to do that. Here's another example, I have a 1099-K for credit card processing. There are about 20 fields on it. Do I need to enter the income received for each month? Maybe all I need is box 1a with the total income so that it flows through to the correct line on the Schedule C and the rest is irrelevant for preparing/transmitting my return.
If you have to ask "Is a Target Date fund right for me?", the answer is "Yes" (even in taxable accounts).
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by sycamore »

I volunteer with Tax Aide. Our training and reference material says to not enter the TIN or address of a 1099-DIV or 1099-INT payer:
Enter the name of payer. Don’t use
punctuation. Do not enter Payer's
TIN and address unless required for
state return (not required for federal
returns).
Perhaps because we get too many rejections due to mismatch on those fields?

Other organizations may not make the same recommendation.

Tax Slayer Pro does not require the user (a tax preparer) to enter a value in those fields.
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by neurosphere »

sycamore wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 12:33 pm I volunteer with Tax Aide. Our training and reference material says to not enter the TIN or address of a 1099-DIV or 1099-INT payer:
Enter the name of payer. Don’t use
punctuation. Do not enter Payer's
TIN and address unless required for
state return (not required for federal
returns).
Perhaps because we get too many rejections due to mismatch on those fields?

Other organizations may not make the same recommendation.

Tax Slayer Pro does not require the user (a tax preparer) to enter a value in those fields.
Interesting info, thanks! So now I'm wondering whether/which states require that info? But those instructions make it clear that TIN/Address are not required for federal filing. It make sense to enter the name, because the name can flow through to Schedule B for example.

I did find the quote below on an IRS pdf called "MeF Submission Composition Guide. Modernized e-File System. TIPSS-2 # 1066. Document Version 1.6. Date: August 12, 2020. Document Number: BMF136"
General Philosophy on Data Elements in the XML Schemas

In general, most data elements in the schemas for each form, schedule, and supporting document have
been declared optional.
Most of the required elements are in the schema for the return header. The
schema for the return header contains identifying information about the entity filing the return, the officer
responsible for the data in the return, the preparer, and the preparing firm. Hence there are very few data
elements that are required.

This philosophy of keeping most data elements optional in the schemas is consistent with the way paper
returns are filed
, i.e., the taxpayer and return preparer have the responsibility to provide information as
specified by IRS forms, instructions, and regulations.
So it seems that software can optionally request/transmit more info than required. But I like the "philosophy" statement. The IRS only cares to see what's on a paper form. For example, I think W2s need to be assembled with paper forms. I actually have no idea what other supporting documents are required to be submitted with paper forms...ok, instructions say "Attach a copy of Forms W-2, W-2G and 2439 to the front of Form 1040. Also attach Forms 1099-R if tax was withheld."

Which means that all the IRS sees of most 1099s is the payor name and amount on certain schedules. For 1099-NECs on Schedule C, they don't even see that...just one aggregate total of NEC payments. Same with 1099-Ks I guess.
If you have to ask "Is a Target Date fund right for me?", the answer is "Yes" (even in taxable accounts).
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by cowdogman »

I have a theory.

In TurboTax the user can print/save to pdf his "filing copy" (supposedly what gets sent to the IRS and which doesn't include 1099s) and a "record copy" (the filing copy plus everything else you've filled out--worksheets, 1099s).

Several years ago my wife's Schedule C business should have received a 1099 but it never arrived, and so within TurboTax I reported it as part of "gross receipts not reported on a 1099", instead of inputting a 1099. Schedule C has only one line for income combing all receipts and sales, so this approach made no difference to Schedule C.

We received a letter from the IRS asking why we didn't report this missing 1099. I wrote back explaining what I did and the IRS wrote back saying "thanks/closed".

At the time I wondered why the IRS picked that 1099 out of several and I concluded that TT must send more than the "filing copy".

Then last year my wife's business has a royalty payment and we had T-bill interest. I filled out the 1099s in TT but in both cases I put the income in the wrong box. Both amounts were properly reported in our "filing copy," but not in the 1099. So, we got a letter from the IRS.

Also last year I didn't bother to complete the "student worksheet" for my two sons because their 529 withdrawals were well below their expenses. Again, this makes no difference in the filed copy, but we got a letter from the IRS asking why we didn't report the 529 withdrawals as income.

So, my theory is that a lot more than the "filing copy" is sent to the IRS. If so, I don't care, but I will be careful from now on what goes in the "non filed" documents in TT.
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by neurosphere »

cowdogman wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 1:11 pm I have a theory....

So, my theory is that a lot more than the "filing copy" is sent to the IRS. If so, I don't care, but I will be careful from now on what goes in the "non filed" documents in TT.
Your examples are clear evidence that some supporting information entered into a retail e-file program DO get transmitted with the return. And maybe worksheets too? All of that is what I'm trying to learn, mostly for curiosity but also because some things really BUG me. Again, the triggering example was that when I entered a Vanguard EIN this year for a form, taxact auto-filled the address with the version stored in the software (from last year) but the address on the new document I received was a new address. Is the address field submitted? I doubt it but maybe. But I couldn't help but correct it, lol. Even though I know that particular detail is almost surely irrelevant to the IRS.

Oh, and here's a better example. Some states have state employer ID numbers which differ from the federal ID. Some are the same. And some are the same but with an extra character. For example, I have a document where the federal ID is 12-3456789. But in the state ID field it's "12-3456789 002" . What the heck am I supposed to enter? Do I include the "002"? With or without a space? What's interesting is that if I use the "import" function to have taxact scan/enter the pdf for me, I'm forced to check a box "taxpayer has verified the state ID". I'm not required to do that if I manually enter that field. That suggests to me that piece of information is required on at least some documents.
If you have to ask "Is a Target Date fund right for me?", the answer is "Yes" (even in taxable accounts).
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by talzara »

neurosphere wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:47 am Actually, I just did a test in taxact. The software requires an EIN and address on W2s received. But does NOT on 1099-INTs, DIVs, NECs, and 1098s. So maybe that answers part of my question.
The W-2 is e-filed with your return. The 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-NEC, and 1098 are not.
neurosphere wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:47 am So I'm wondering what actual data gets transmitted to the IRS? Is this a taxact requirement? Or an IRS requirement?
Different software has different requirements. I've tested all of the top consumer tax programs except Credit Karma. I found TaxSlayer to do the most validation on the data entry screens. TaxAct wasn't bad.
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by talzara »

jebmke wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:50 am I have a very fuzzy memory of a post recently that indicated that retail tax packages do not use the MeF system. I may be misremembering.
All tax programs use MeF. The IRS shut down legacy e-file about 10 years ago. Modernized e-File is the only system that is still operating.
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by jebmke »

talzara wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 5:04 pm
jebmke wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:50 am I have a very fuzzy memory of a post recently that indicated that retail tax packages do not use the MeF system. I may be misremembering.
All tax programs use MeF. The IRS shut down legacy e-file about 10 years ago. Modernized e-File is the only system that is still operating.
Thanks for clearing the fuzz. As to the entries, when I use TSO (or my own HRB for that matter) once I figure out what isn’t required (like EINs, addresses on many forms) I skip them. Explains why some of my TaxAide colleagues take so long doing a return. I often note that they enter the EINs, addresses and full names of the payers. A lot of typing for nothing.
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by talzara »

sycamore wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 12:33 pm I volunteer with Tax Aide. Our training and reference material says to not enter the TIN or address of a 1099-DIV or 1099-INT payer:
Enter the name of payer. Don’t use
punctuation. Do not enter Payer's
TIN and address unless required for
state return (not required for federal
returns).
Perhaps because we get too many rejections due to mismatch on those fields?
It can't get rejected for mismatch because the 1099-INT is not e-filed with the IRS. It may be e-filed with the state.

Tax Aide is trying to speed up the return entry. If the volunteers are entering fields that are not required, it slows down the process:
jebmke wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 5:10 pm Thanks for clearing the fuzz. As to the entries, when I use TSO (or my own HRB for that matter) once I figure out what isn’t required (like EINs, addresses on many forms) I skip them. Explains why some of my TaxAide colleagues take so long doing a return. I often note that they enter the EINs, addresses and full names of the payers. A lot of typing for nothing.
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by jebmke »

talzara wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 5:12 pm
sycamore wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 12:33 pm I volunteer with Tax Aide. Our training and reference material says to not enter the TIN or address of a 1099-DIV or 1099-INT payer:
Enter the name of payer. Don’t use
punctuation. Do not enter Payer's
TIN and address unless required for
state return (not required for federal
returns).
Perhaps because we get too many rejections due to mismatch on those fields?
It can't get rejected for mismatch because the 1099-INT is not e-filed with the IRS. It may be e-filed with the state.

Tax Aide is trying to speed up the return entry. If the volunteers are entering fields that are not required, it slows down the process:
jebmke wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 5:10 pm Thanks for clearing the fuzz. As to the entries, when I use TSO (or my own HRB for that matter) once I figure out what isn’t required (like EINs, addresses on many forms) I skip them. Explains why some of my TaxAide colleagues take so long doing a return. I often note that they enter the EINs, addresses and full names of the payers. A lot of typing for nothing.
The prior system, Taxwise didn’t even have traditional 1099 entries for schedule B. There was a schedule that was essentially a giant spreadsheet where you could pound these entries in quickly. I miss that program.
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by neurosphere »

talzara wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 5:01 pm
neurosphere wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:47 am Actually, I just did a test in taxact. The software requires an EIN and address on W2s received. But does NOT on 1099-INTs, DIVs, NECs, and 1098s. So maybe that answers part of my question.
The W-2 is e-filed with your return. The 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-NEC, and 1098 are not.
Take a 1099-NEC. Are you saying NONE of the data from the form is transmitted with the 1040. Some? Optional? State vs Federal?

How do you explain cowdogman's post above regarding inquiries from the IRS about missing data?
If you have to ask "Is a Target Date fund right for me?", the answer is "Yes" (even in taxable accounts).
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by talzara »

neurosphere wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 12:59 pm So it seems that software can optionally request/transmit more info than required. But I like the "philosophy" statement. The IRS only cares to see what's on a paper form. For example, I think W2s need to be assembled with paper forms. I actually have no idea what other supporting documents are required to be submitted with paper forms...ok, instructions say "Attach a copy of Forms W-2, W-2G and 2439 to the front of Form 1040. Also attach Forms 1099-R if tax was withheld."

Which means that all the IRS sees of most 1099s is the payor name and amount on certain schedules. For 1099-NECs on Schedule C, they don't even see that...just one aggregate total of NEC payments. Same with 1099-Ks I guess.
When e-filing began, there was concern that electronic returns would be at greater risk of audit because the IRS got so much more data. Only some lines on a paper return are typed in, the ones that appear on your return transcript. The rest of your return is never used unless it has to be processed manually or you have been selected for audit.

The IRS adopted a policy of parity for paper and electronic returns. The IRS uses the same system to process electronic and paper returns. The same lines are extracted from the MeF package and sent to the IBM mainframe. The rest of the e-filed return is never used unless it has to be processed manually or you get audited.

However, MeF does get validated much more strictly than paper returns. This has caused problems in the past, such as when the IRS began enforcing the form 1116 schema more strictly. The IRS MeF team made one change, and 50 software companies had to figure out what changes to make to their software. Some of them succeeded, and some of them failed. Thousands of returns were delayed, and thousands of calls were made to customer service. Finally, the biggest tax programs were fixed, and the returns passed validation. Then the country was not extracted from the XML, and it did not make it to the mainframe. It was all a waste!
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by talzara »

neurosphere wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 5:27 pm
talzara wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 5:01 pm The W-2 is e-filed with your return. The 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-NEC, and 1098 are not.
Take a 1099-NEC. Are you saying NONE of the data from the form is transmitted with the 1040. Some? Optional? State vs Federal?
The 1099-NEC is not transmitted to the IRS with a form 1040. It may be transmitted with a state return, but the IRS doesn't look at it.
neurosphere wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 5:27 pm How do you explain cowdogman's post above regarding inquiries from the IRS about missing data?
The IRS often makes mistakes. There are threads in which Bogleheads ask why they received a letter from the IRS when they followed the instructions.

The Automated Underreporter (AUR) program runs on the IRS mainframe. It is not possible to match a specific 1099 because the mainframe only has the copy that the issuer e-filed. It doesn't have the copy entered by the taxpayer. You can see this on your return transcript. There's nothing to match against, so there can't be a mismatch.

Edit: The 529 thread just got bumped up. Many people have received CP2000s for 529 withdrawals, and there is no apparent pattern. One person got it 3 years in a row. Another person got it once in 7 years. The consensus is that the IRS is matching only against the 1098-T filed by the university. viewtopic.php?f=2&t=420911
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by neurosphere »

talzara wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 6:00 pm
neurosphere wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 5:27 pm
talzara wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 5:01 pm The W-2 is e-filed with your return. The 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-NEC, and 1098 are not.
Take a 1099-NEC. Are you saying NONE of the data from the form is transmitted with the 1040. Some? Optional? State vs Federal?
The 1099-NEC is not transmitted to the IRS with a form 1040. It may be transmitted with a state return, but the IRS doesn't look at it.
So how one can what see what's in the state return? What I'm looking for is a list of ALL data that's in either of the federal or state e-file information.

I suspect such a list is buried in code in a technical document, but I'd like to see/find that document. It's surely public. I found such documents for information returns (e.g. 1099s to that go directly to the IRS). But I can't find the MeF instructions (or similar) which outline the REQUIRED elements for every personal income tax e-file and state e-file.
If you have to ask "Is a Target Date fund right for me?", the answer is "Yes" (even in taxable accounts).
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by neurosphere »

talzara wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 6:00 pm The 1099-NEC is not transmitted to the IRS with a form 1040. It may be transmitted with a state return, but the IRS doesn't look at it.
I did confirm that the 1099-NEC is transmitted to at least one state (NY). Also all driver's license info. And for NY licenses, a control number on the back is required, but ONLY the first three digits. I've always put in all 8 or 10 or whatever and will stop doing so. :D
If you have to ask "Is a Target Date fund right for me?", the answer is "Yes" (even in taxable accounts).
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by talzara »

neurosphere wrote: Tue Feb 20, 2024 3:34 pm So how one can what see what's in the state return? What I'm looking for is a list of ALL data that's in either of the federal or state e-file information.

I suspect such a list is buried in code in a technical document, but I'd like to see/find that document. It's surely public. I found such documents for information returns (e.g. 1099s to that go directly to the IRS). But I can't find the MeF instructions (or similar) which outline the REQUIRED elements for every personal income tax e-file and state e-file.
The IRS MeF specifications are only available to e-filing companies.

The state MeF specifications have only been available to e-filing companies since 2016, when the states decided to implement security by obscurity.

You may be able to get the specifications by filing a Freedom of Information request, depending on the state.

You may also be able to find specifications that are older than 2016, depending on the state, but that may not apply to this year's return. Something that was optional in 2015 may be required now.
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Re: What data gets transmitted to the IRS when I e-file (Modernized e-File "MeF")

Post by neurosphere »

talzara wrote: Tue Feb 20, 2024 4:00 pm
neurosphere wrote: Tue Feb 20, 2024 3:34 pm So how one can what see what's in the state return? What I'm looking for is a list of ALL data that's in either of the federal or state e-file information.

I suspect such a list is buried in code in a technical document, but I'd like to see/find that document. It's surely public. I found such documents for information returns (e.g. 1099s to that go directly to the IRS). But I can't find the MeF instructions (or similar) which outline the REQUIRED elements for every personal income tax e-file and state e-file.
The IRS MeF specifications are only available to e-filing companies.

The state MeF specifications have only been available to e-filing companies since 2016, when the states decided to implement security by obscurity.

You may be able to get the specifications by filing a Freedom of Information request, depending on the state.
Thank you for this! I have been unsuccessful at finding the XML/schema and a lot of other MeF requirements! Not interested in going down the FOIA request for what is essentially curiosity. :)
If you have to ask "Is a Target Date fund right for me?", the answer is "Yes" (even in taxable accounts).
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