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Common questions about diagnostics in Lacerte

SOLVEDby Intuit79Updated January 02, 2024

To find solutions to specific diagnostics, try our Find My Diagnostic Center here. Just enter the reference number and click Search.

Table of contents:

What is the best way to search for more information about a diagnostic?
What is the diagnostic reference number?
e-file diagnostics
What diagnostics will prevent a return from being e-filed?
How can I tell if a critical diagnostic will stop the e-file?
How do I print diagnostics?
What are informational diagnostics?
What are critical diagnostics?
Fatal diagnostics
Bypassing diagnostics
All of my critical diagnostics are cleared or checked off and lined through, so why can't I e-file?
Why won't my diagnostic disappear?
What is the More Info link appearing next to a specific diagnostic?

What is the best way to search for more information about a diagnostic?

There are many articles that address specific diagnostics in the program. The best way to search is to use the diagnostic reference number, using only the numeric digits.  Searching this way will give you the best and most accurate results. Try our Find My Diagnostic Center here.

Example: (ref. #1253), search for '1253'

  • Note: Articles are not available for all diagnostics.  Most diagnostics do not require additional information.

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What is the Diagnostic Reference number?

The diagnostic reference number is a way for Lacerte support to quickly identify diagnostics that are generating in our database. In prior year Lacerte, the reference numbers were only displayed by holding down Ctrl+Alt+R while on the Diagnostics tab. Beginning in Lacerte 2012 the reference numbers are displayed automatically at the end of each diagnostic message, displayed as (ref. #xxx).

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e-File diagnostics

If a return has electronic filing indicated in Screen 1Client Information, diagnostics that impact electronic filing specifically will have the word e-file: prepended to the text. Any type of diagnostic can potentially become an e-file diagnostic when Electronic Filing is indicated.

For example, Critical diagnostic "Taxpayer's first name and middle initial are missing or invalid. (ref. 302)" generates when the first name field is blank. If electronic filing is indicated, that diagnostic becomes "e-file: Taxpayer's first name and middle initial are missing or invalid. (ref. 302)."

E-file critical diagnostics are treated differently than paper-file critical diagnostics because Lacerte checks for anything known to cause e-file rejections as well as tax issues when Electronic Filing is indicated. Some diagnostics only exist as e-file diagnostics. Those are issues that don't impact paper-filed returns but will cause an e-file rejection. Because Lacerte treats e-file diagnostics differently than paper-file diagnostics, e-file critical diagnostics will prevent e-file validation, but paper-file critical diagnostics will not. Critical e-file diagnostics must be addressed prior to e-file but critical paper-file diagnostics can potentially be ignored.

What diagnostics will prevent a return from being e-filed?

E-file critical diagnostics and Fatal critical diagnostics will stop an e-file return from being e-filed. E-file critical diagnostics typically generate when Lacerte recognizes something that will cause an e-file reject. Make sure to resolve any e-file critical diagnostics and fatal critical diagnostics before continuing to e-file.  Additionally, some critical diagnostics that are not e-file critical diagnostics will stop the return from being e-filed.

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How can I tell if a critical diagnostic will stop the e-file?

You can validate the e-file to check if any diagnostics will stop the return from being filed. 

  1. Select on Print.
  2. Select Tax Return.
  3. Select e-file validation only at the bottom of the third column in the Return section.
  4. Select OK.

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How do I print diagnostics?

From the diagnostics screen, click on the printer icon, and a box will come up. Select print diagnostics.

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What are informational diagnostics?

Informational diagnostics will generate to inform you of basic information regarding a specific return, potential issues, court cases, publication information. Typically informational diagnostics are optional; however, it is up to you to read and deem if the information we are providing needs to be completed.

Information diagnostics:

  • Will not interrupt return print or e-file attempts.
  • Are primarily intended to inform the preparer and / or taxpayer of tax decisions made for this return based on program settings and return inputs.

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What are critical diagnostics?

Critical diagnostics list items that may interfere with filing a correct return. Typically, these warnings are for entries that you must complete or correct before filing a tax return. However, some critical diagnostics are informational diagnostics that developers have made critical so you will pay attention to them. These diagnostics will not stop the e-filing of a return and in some cases will not go away. If the diagnostic does not apply to you, select the check box next to the warning message to mark it as complete.

Critical diagnostics:

  • Will prompt to continue for printed returns.
  • Can cause e-file validation to fail.
  • Can be bypassed.
  • Can potentially cause rejections if ignored or bypassed.

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Fatal diagnostics

  • Will prevent return printing.
  • Will prevent e-file validation.
  • Cannot be bypassed. If a return generates a Fatal diagnostic, Lacerte won't allow that return to be printed or e-filed. Fatal diagnostics must be resolved.

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Bypassing diagnostics

Normally, e-file critical diagnostics will prevent e-file validation. However there have been cases where a diagnostic was confirmed faulty. For that reason, Lacerte has a feature to allow e-file validation even when critical e-file diagnostics are present on the return. It's important to note, bypassing e-file diagnostics almost always causes an e-file rejection. It's safe to bypass a critical e-file diagnostic only when it's the sole critical e-file diagnostic on the return and you've confirmed that diagnostic is faulty.

To bypass error checking do this immediately prior to validating and e-filing a return with critical e-file diagnostics:

  1. Go to your client list.
  2. Select that client in your list but don't enter that client's return.
  3. From the E-file menu, select E-file Support Tools, then Disable e-file error…
  4. A message will pop indicating error checking has been disabled. The preparer should proceed to e-file the return. The validation will say Successful: Error Bypass and will allow them to e-file that return.
    • Error checking automatically re-enables after that validation.

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All of my critical diagnostics are cleared or checked off and lined through, so why can't I e-file?

Marking a diagnostic as complete (checking the box, causing the diagnostic to be lined through) does not mean that the diagnostic is clear and is no longer affecting the return. If the diagnostic says "e-file" before the diagnostic message then these diagnostics will still cause the e-file to fail validation and will stop the return from being e-filed.

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Why won't my diagnostic disappear?

As mentioned before not all diagnostics will apply to your clients return, some are more informational than actionable (even if they are listed as Critical). Review the diagnostic and verify if the information provided is actionable to your clients return, if so correct the return as needed. If not, select the check box next to the warning message to mark it as complete.

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Save time by quickly being informed on how to resolve critical diagnostics. Specific critical diagnostics have a More Info link providing assistance on how to resolve. Just click the link to see the solution.

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