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Understand the return form editor

This article applies to:Avalara Returns for Accountants

Returns for Accountants offers a visual return form editor that allows you to electronically prepare a copy of the return. The form editor has a number of advanced options. Review this guide for more information about the available options.

Return form editor options

Return form editor options.png

To see the return form editor, go to Returns > Filing Tasks, and then select a form name from the Form column. The top panel of the return form editor includes a number of options:

  • Back: Takes you back to the Filing Tasks screen.
  • Search: Search the return form for a specific value. You can search for field names, or for the values you've entered into editable fields.
  • Data: Opens a menu at the bottom of the screen with additional information about the return, separated into these sections:
    • CrossFormCellDependencies: Displays information for return forms that pull data from other return forms. For example, the California CDTFA-401 A2 form pulls in the prepayment amount from the CA Prepayment form.
    • Transactions: Details about transaction data included on the return, summarized by taxing jurisdiction.
    • Deductions: A summarized list of deductions.
    • Outlets: A summarized view of liability for each company location. You can also make adjustments to location information (such as address or state registration number) in this section. 
    • TaxpayerProfile: Basic company details, such as taxpayer name, address, and registration IDs.
  • Edit all: By default, only the fields highlighted in blue can be edited. Select this option if you need to manually adjust other fields.
    Make sure to carefully review all changes you make when using this option. The Edit All option allows you to make changes to the return that can result in the state Department of Revenue rejecting the return.
  • Help: Download a PDF with guidance on preparing the specific return form. This option is not available for all return forms.
  • Formatted or Unformatted: Adjusts the format in which the return form editor displays percentage and dollar amount fields. 
  • Calculator: Displays a calculator in the return form editor when you make changes to a dollar amount field. This allows you to do some basic calculations before changing the number in the field.
  • Discount: Enables or disables the ability for the client to claim a timely-filing discount when the return is filed.
    This should generally be disabled only if you know that the client is not eligible for a timely-filing discount.
  • Side pane: Opens a side pane with information that is helpful when preparing returns. The pane includes the following sections:
    • Overrides: A list of each field that has been edited. Select the field name to jump to the field in the return editor, or select the X to the left of the field name to delete the changes you made to the field.
    • Validations: A list of validation errors based on the data you've entered. For example, a validation error is displayed if you enter a tax amount that conflicts with the taxable amount * tax rate calculation.
    • Prep details: A comparison of the sales and liability details from the liability summary and the return form editor.
      Minor differences can be due to your rounding settings, but large differences should be investigated and resolved before filing the return.
    • Return details: Basic information about the return, such as the company name, return form, filing period, filing frequency, and filing method.
    • Credits not applied: A list of transactions with negative liability that are not applied to the return liability, because they would result in negative total liability.
  • Gear icon: Opens a More Actions menu with additional options:
    • Field dependencies: Displays a visual representation of which fields are factored into the calculation of other fields.
      • Blue: When you select a field, you see blue arrows to indicate each field that is factored into the total of the selected field.
      • Red: When you select a field, you see red arrows to indicate each field that the selected field is factored into.
    • Export to file: Exports transaction and return data to one of the following file formats:
      • CIF Excel: An XLSX Customer Input File that defines information about tax collected for a specific filing period, and metadata related to filing.
      • CIF JSON: A JSON Customer Input File that defines information about tax collected for a specific filing period, and metadata related to filing.
      • CFD Text: A JSON Computed Form Data file that represents the final form data that will be used for filing.
      • Transmission text: A text file that includes the return details, in the format used to electronically transmit the return to the Department of Revenue.
    • Background color: Changes the background color of the return form editor.
    • Computed return: Downloads a PDF copy of the return form with the current details.
  • Autocalc options: Adjusts how the return form editor recalculates to reflect adjustments for interdependent fields.
    • Autocalc full: Each time you make an adjustment to a field, the return form recalculates to update any other fields that are impacted by the change.
    • Autocalc partial: The return form is recalculated less frequently.
    • Autocalc off: The return form does not automatically recalculate when you make changes. You must select the Autocalc button to manually initiate recalculation.
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