‘Free Fillable Forms’ For 2013: 3 Tips To Get The Built-In eFile Feature To Cooperate.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013....
Anura Guruge

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>> — Apr. 13, 2013.

Free Fillable Forms (FFF) has always had (ever since I started using it, with much gratitude a few years ago) a built-in eFile feature, replete with an ETF function for paying any additional taxes you may end up owing.

The eFile, as with everything else with FFF, works, and works well, but it can be a tad finicky — and unlike with the rest of FFF there aren’t good instructions to tell you why it is PRECLUDING you from filing.

FFF will NOT let you eFile until it is satisfied that you have completed all the steps in the eFile section. And that is where things get finicky … because FFF does NOT tell you exactly why it is precluding you from hitting the “eFile NOW” button. Basically unless you can get FFF to light-up the “eFile NOW” button you are stuck. You cannot manually turn it on or circumvent it. Your only option, if you can’t get it to light-up, is to print the forms and mail it in!

Here are 3 pointers I have learned over the year that might help you.

1. IF you owe money and have to authorize an ETF make sure that the date you specify as to when the funds should be withdrawn from you bank is AT LEAST two days hence! This one is crazy. If you ask for it to take the money out on that day itself, FFF will not light-up the magic button. I learned this via trial-and-error. I knew that everything else was beyond copesetic because I had quadruple checked it. But the button was not lit. It had been lit BEFORE I started entering the ETF data. So, I knew that my problem was in the ETF section. Obviously FFF can’t check whether my routing code (other than having the right number of digits) or my bank account number are correct. So the ONLY variable was the “withdraw monies on this day” field. I had assumed, as is the case with other systems, that if you put “today’s” date it will understand that it means “as of now”. Not so. As soon as I changed that date to 3 days hence, the button lit-up and Bob was my uncle.

2. In the signature section, BUT not in the IDENTIFICATION section, you make up your own PINs. They don’t explain that well enough.

3. Make sure you get all of your ‘Federal Tax Withheld‘ correct from all the W-2, 1099s etc. IF you don’t all hell breaks loose. They have got better about this BUT having run foul of this a few years ago I now check this about 600 times before I submit.

OK. So this is just to help you IF you run into the issue of FFF refusing, stubbornly, to light-up the ‘eFile now’ button.

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