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State e-file methods: standalone vs. piggyback

SOLVEDby Intuit73Updated January 12, 2024

Piggyback / federal / state (JELF):

The state tax return is attached and transmitted with the federal return, and the federal return must be accepted before the state return can be processed.

  • Only one state return can be sent as a piggyback return.
  • If the federal return is rejected, the state return will also be rejected.
  • If the federal return has already been accepted, the state return can only be sent from the same client file, on the same workstation, where the federal return was e-filed.

Piggyback Only or Must Link

If a state return is listed as Piggyback Only or Must Link this means that the state must be sent at the same time as the federal return.

The state return may need to be paper filed if:

  • The federal return is not being e-filed.
  • There are 2 Piggyback Only states on the return, one will need to be paper filed.
  • The federal return is rejected and need to be paper filed to resolve the rejection.
  • The Federal return has already been e-filed before the state return is completed or ready to be e-filed.

State-only return:

The state return can be processed independently of the federal return. It's a common misconception that these returns aren't sent to the IRS—they are. However, the IRS sets aside these returns for processing by the states, in most cases, prior to acceptance of the federal return or the federal return being e-filed.

Direct or standalone:

The state return is entirely separate from the federal return, and acknowledgements are processed separately. The exception for a direct return state is Illinois, which utilizes IRS common processing through the KC service center.

Piggyback only (Must Link)Piggyback/State onlyStandalone/Direct
ArkansasColoradoCalifornia
AlabamaConnecticutIllinois
ArizonaDelewareMaine
KansasDistrict of ColumbiaMinnesota
MississippiGeorgiaMassachusetts
OklahomaHawaiiTexas Franchise
IdahoTennessee
Iowa
Indiana
Kentucky
Louisiana
Massachusetts
Maryland
Maine
Michigan
Minnesota
Missouri
Montana
North Carolina
North Dakota
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Ohio
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
Vermont
Wisconsin
West Virginia

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