(Bulk upload is a very important topic for the e-file systems and there are several important features to discuss to understand the complexity. This topic has been split into two parts to discuss each important feature in more detail)
Companies having to e-file thousands of IRS forms (1099 Series, 1099 MISC, W-2, and ACA – 1095B / 1095C) prefer to use the Excel file to upload bulk data, extracted from their accounting systems, to the e-file service provider’s system. The expectation is to use the e-file system as a black box where they upload the Excel data, pay for the forms and download the final PDF document and the e-file service provider’s system automatically e-files to the IRS system and print & mail the hard copy to the payees/recipients. The filers only wish to use the online user interface for any form corrections, track forms statuses, and download the PDF forms for their records. The need of the user is a highly automated e-file system where the manual intervention is optionally required only at some key steps e.g., for review, payment through credit card, etc.
Taxseer.com has developed the e-filing system from ground up considering some key user requirements to provide a high quality e-file experience to the users, ensure data integrity, and allow easy data management. Taxseer enables users to import thousands of records using both Standard & Custom Excel file format and automatically generate the IRS forms (1099 Series, 1099 MISC, W-2, and ACA – 1095B / 1095C), e-file to the IRS system, print & mail to the individual recipients, provides real-time status of each form, and email notifications at key workflow steps. The easy form download option allows multiple forms to be downloaded as a single zip file based on the criteria provided by the user. Users are only required to use the user interface when data issues are encountered or they want to track the forms status.
The following sections provide details about the salient features of the Taxseer’s data import utility and the key considerations during its design and development:
1. File Format Support (Custom & Standard)
There are generally two categories of users using the bulk data import functionality. First category users prefer to use Standard Excel template provided by the e-file service provider. In this case, the user downloads the standard Excel file template and fills the data, either manually or programmatically, and imports the data to perform e-filing. The second category users like to reuse their existing file format for which they have invested their time & resources to extract data from their accounting system and they are reluctant to apply another effort to develop new data format. Vendors should provide the flexibility to the users to use either of the file formats and perform data mapping all by themselves through a easy-to-use designer without writing any code.
Taxseer provides a very easy to use data mapping utility to map the custom file fields with the standard fields. Users can use the drag-and-drop feature to map the fields and the complete exercise can be completed within minutes. They can also download the standard file format template from Taxseer and enter the complete information and finally upload the data. The use of standard file format prevents the user from performing the mapping exercise and the user will have to just fill the data in the template and upload the data.
2. Asynchronous Data Processing
E-file service providers have struggled in the past to handle bulk data involving thousands of recipients as their bad design and the use of synchronous processing from the user interface fails more often and never guarantees the successful data processing in the first attempt.
Taxseer’s proven architecture uses asynchronous processing of the bulk data to process the file in the server side. This technique allows handling of unlimited data volume with a guarantee to successfully process the complete file in a single attempt. Clients can upload any number of bulk data files and the server side parallel processing feature ensures performance consistency and prevents performance degradation due to multiple submissions concurrently.
3. Batch Transaction
Bulk upload utility should ensure that all records from the bulk data file should be uploaded and if errors are encountered during the processing then the entire transaction should be rolled-back and no record should be uploaded to the e-file system. This approach ensures that data integrity is maintained during the bulk upload processing and the entire batch is accepted only when no error is encountered.
Taxseer creates a Batch ID for each file upload to ensure that all records available in the file are actually uploaded to the target system and a proper reconciliation is done. This guarantees that no records are lost during the upload process and in case of critical errors; the entire batch is rejected with a very user friendly error message appended to the Excel file. Use of batch id technique provides full control to the user performing bulk upload to track and rectify anomalies.
The remaining features will be discussed in the next blog 1099 / W-2 / ACA Bulk Import – Salient Features (Part 2 of 2)