SSR - Best Practices Guide

Welcome to our step-by-step guide to align your firm with our recommended Best Practices to make your experience with SafeSend Returns easy and seamless. We have also provided a PDF below these steps for easy distribution amongst your users!

I. Our Most Successful Customers Will Tell You This

I.I Keep the Partners out of the Process

There are two approaches to processing returns in SafeSend Returns (SSR):

  1. Admin Only (Recommended):
    The ERO/Signer of the return should perform their final review in the tax software or from a PDF file prior to being uploaded to SSR. Only Admins will process and deliver returns. SSR is designed to automate tax return assembly and delivery, your firm should trust that SSR will accurately perform all the heavy lifting. The QA / QC process is well defined and easily learned. Admins adopt and embrace it quickly as it empowers them to deliver tax returns in 3 – 4 minutes.
  2. Admin and Partners (Not recommended) :
    Admins process the return then send it to the ERO/Signer/Partner for review. The Partner can either deliver to the taxpayer or route back to the Admin with approval to deliver. This creates inefficiencies as two people are essentially performing the same tasks twice. This goes against all Lean Six Sigma process improvement principles and is not recommended.


I.II Send a Templated Email to the Taxpayer Immediately Before You Send Them Their Tax Return

Right before you deliver the tax return in SSR, send a templated email to the taxpayer. Your firm should develop standard templates and ensure all Admins have them saved in their Drafts folder. They can simply select “Forward” and enter the taxpayer email address and send it. You might consider having two email templates 1) 1040 and 2) 1041, 1065, 1120, and 1120S. The content of the email should include the following:

  • We are using a new program called SafeSend Returns to electronically deliver tax returns. You should have received an email from noreply@safesendreturns.com. If you have not, please check your Spam or Junk folder and add to your safe sender's list.
  • The email will contain a link that is safe to click. You will need to provide the last 4 digits of your SSN and enter an Access Code that will be sent to you in a separate email after verification.
  • You will gain access to your tax return where you can:
    • Download it, review it, print it, etc.
    • Electronically sign your e-file authorization forms, or you can print, manually sign, and return to us as usual. <1040 template>.
    • The IRS requires us to ask you some personal questions to verify your identity so please do not be alarmed by the personal questions. <1040 template>
    • Electronically distribute your K-1’s to your Partners/Shareholders <Entity template>.
    • Print, sign, and return your e-file authorization forms <Entity template>.
    • See if you owe taxes, are receiving any refunds, and see your estimated tax payments (if applicable).
    • Many people have not needed it, but here is a link to a walkthrough guide for the taxpayer.

I.II Use for All Qualified Taxpayers - Age Does Not Matter Unless They Are Children

Many people believe that elderly clients will not adopt SSR. Our customers will tell you that this is not true. In fact, some of our customer’s best success stories involve elderly clients. Our most successful customers are sending 75% - 85% of their tax returns through SSR. This is where you will get the highest ROI. You should take the position that every tax return will be delivered through SSR unless they fall into one of the following categories.

Not Recommended for SSR Delivery:

  1. Will not qualify for KBA (Alternatively you can send these for a manual sign and return).
    • Children.
    • Living outside the US.
    • Recently moved to the US.
    • Recently married and changed name.
  2. Extension packages.

I.IV Use for Manually Filed Returns, but Send the Manually Filed Return in Paper or as an Attachment

For returns that need to be manually filed, there are two approaches that have proven successful. The firm will deliver the entire return through SSR and provide instructions in the “Message From Preparer”.

For the manually filed returns either:

  • Electronic: Upload the manually filed returns as separate PDF’s in the “Attachments” section and provide instructions in addition to the “Message From Preparer” instructions.
  • Paper: Mail them a paper copy of just the manually filed returns and provide them instructions.

I.V Personal Preferences are Problems

When delivering paper-based tax returns, many firms and/or partners have developed personal preferences in how the paper tax return is assembled and delivered. Personal preferences in a paper process do not transition well to an electronic process. Try to live with the client copy of the tax return as it comes out of your tax printing software and try to eliminate personal preferences. Lean Six Sigma studies prove that taxpayers usually do not view things the way you think they do. For example, they don’t care if the ERO has manually signed the 8879. A block signature or a signature stamp is perfectly fine.

II. Policy Decisions

IMPORTANT: This section is only necessary for NEW Customers who have not yet configured their account. Prior to your initial training for Account Set-up, please have your SSR Champions discuss and determine how your firm will handle the following items:

  • ERO Signatures
    • What is your current policy for ERO signatures on Form 8879? Do you use Block Signatures from the tax software, manually sign, or use signature stamps?
      • Have you considered using the SSR signature stamps? If so, have you considered signer delegation (i.e. other people can be granted permission to place my signature stamp)?
  • E-Signatures on 8879’s
    • KBA: Required by the IRS and we recommend keeping it enabled.
    • Entity: Will you use e-signatures on 1041, 1065, 1120, or 1120S even though the IRS does not currently allow it?
  • Delivery Permissions
    • Who will be allowed to deliver the returns?
      • Returns can be delivered by any user (recommended) or
      • Restricted to the Partner and System Admin roles (not recommended).
  • Voucher Reminders
    • Will you keep them enabled?
    • What is your preferred default # of days?
  • 1040 Authentication:
    • Use the first or last 4 of the SSN?
  • PDF Download Options
    • Transmittals: Include with the Tax Return or create a separate PDF?
    • K-1’S: Include with the Tax Return or create a separate PDF? (Coming Soon)
    • Payment Vouchers: Separate by due date or group in a single PDF?
  • Invoices and Payments
    • Will you send them with the returns?
    • If yes, what is the source (tax software, Practice Management, QuickBooks, etc.)?
    • Will you offer an online payment of invoices? If yes, do you have an existing PayPal account or other URL? Would you like to learn more about QuickFee?
  • Default Messages
    • It can be added later, but consider default messages to taxpayers based on return type or use case scenario.
  • Delivered Returns Report
    • Do you want a custom field in the Delivered Returns Report?
    • If so, what are the Field Name and the related possible values/statuses?
III. What All Users MUST KNOW
It is very important that all users read and understand this section of this guide. Not complying with the guidelines defined in this section will lead to unnecessary customer support tickets and user frustration.
  • Return Types
  • E-Signing Form 8879:
    • 1040’s:
      • The IRS requires the taxpayer and spouse to separately authenticate with Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA). With this process, they will be asked 5 personal questions that are obtained from their credit report and other public databases. The questions are generated by LexisNexis.
    • 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120S:
      • The IRS currently does NOT allow the use of E-Signatures on the 8879’s for these return types.
        • However, your firm might make a decision to do so anyway.
    • PDF’s of Tax Returns: The PDF files printed from the tax software and uploaded to SSR must adhere to the following rules:
      • Must be the Client Copy of the return. Do not submit the Accountant or Governmental copy.
      • DO NOT MODIFY the PDF files in any way.
        • DO NOT:
          • Delete pages or bookmarks.
          • Add pages or bookmarks.
          • Password protect the PDF file or add a digital signature that might restrict access to the file.
    • Returns Not Recommended For SSR: We recommend that you do not use SSR to deliver the following:
      • Taxpayers or Spouses that will not qualify for KBA
        • Children
        • Living outside the US
        • Just moved to the US
        • Recently married and changed name
      • Extension packages
  • Electronic K-1 Distribution:
    • It is available and part of the system for 1041, 1065, and 1120S returns.
  • Payment Vouchers: Currently cannot be changed once they have been delivered. We are working on a future enhancement to allow you to modify payment vouchers.
  • Automatic Withdrawal Payments: For payments that are scheduled for automatic withdrawal, you will need to manually add those to the Vouchers tab.
  • Online Payment Required: For payments that are required to be paid online, you will need to manually add those to the Vouchers tab.
  • Taxpayer Preview: You must Enable Pop-ups in your preferred browser to use “Taxpayer Preview”. If you click the “Taxpayer Preview” button and nothing seems to happen, it is being blocked.
  • Need Help?
    • Customer support and training resources are as follows:
      • Report a Problem: If there is an issue in processing a return make sure to use the “Report a Problem” feature in SSR. It can be accessed from either:
        • The “Help” drop-down in the top right portion of SSR (while processing a return).
        • The “Actions” drop-down in the Delivered Returns Report (after a return has been delivered).
      • Call: (855) 818-3552 Ext 1.
      • Email: support@safesend.com
      • Website: Product Help Center
      • Training: Workshops, Videos and PDF Files
IV. Print Settings
It is very IMPORTANT that all users read and understand the print settings for the applicable tax software.
  1. CCH
  2. UltraTax:
  3. GoSystem:
  4. Lacerte:
V. Processing Returns
  1. Important Reminders:
    1. If this is the first time a client is using SafeSend Returns, send your firm's agreed upon templated email as discussed in Section I.II of this Best Practices Guide.
    2. Follow the normal steps at the end of the preparation process that might include locking the return, setting the status to Complete, exporting for e-filing, and printing the PDF copies to your firm's standard document storage location (Document Management System, Windows Shared Folder, etc.).
  2. Processing:
    1. Login to the SafeSend Returns site at https://www.safesendreturns.com and perform the following:
      1. Upload the tax return PDF file and submit it for processing.
      2. Click the Upload button on the right.
      3. Click inside the Drag files here area and browse to the PDF file being delivered.
      4. Locate the correct client file (be sure to select the CLIENT copy) and double-click on it to import the tax return. For Business returns, be sure to adhere to the PDF printer settings as defined in Section III of this Best Practices Guide.
      5. The file will be imported.
      6. Confirm the correct client ID is in the file name field (if not, click the red X to the right to remove it and add the correct file).
      7. Select the appropriate ERO/Signer from the list.
      8. If this return needs to be secured, click on the Everyone link to change the security access for this return, otherwise leave it as is.
      9. Click Submit.
        1. A confirmation screen will appear – click OK.
      10. Click the All Assignments tab.
      11. Open the desired return.
        1. You can use the Client ID or Name field to search for the client if there are many returns.
        2. Confirm the client's name, ID, and partner to be sure you are selecting the correct client.
        3. You can open the return by either:
          1. Double-clicking on the entry/row to open it or
          2. On the far-right hand side of the screen click the purple 'Process Return' rocket icon.
          3. Follow our guide for Processing the Return here.
      12. Send the client our templated email as defined in Section I.2.
      13. Monitor for returned/signed 8879s (under Reports - Delivered Returns).
      14. Print a copy of the signed 8879(s) to the appropriate Document Storage Location.
        1. Proceed with the normal e-filing procedures in the tax software.
      15. Archive the return (optional).
        1. Check the box to the left of the return that has been completed/processed for e-filing.
        2. Click the Archive button at the top.
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2 comments
  • Hello! I'm glad that the article is useful to you. We'll see if we can't upload a new PDF with the hyperlinks in working order.

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  • I really like the template emails in here. The only downside is that the video links do not seem to be embedded when it is downloaded as a PDF.

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