You can customize many aspects of the Lacerte Tax program to match your needs and the needs of your firm. You can set where your client files save, how the program looks, how clients display, and how the program calculates and prints tax return forms, schedules, and supporting documents.
Before you start:
- If you're installed as a network you'll have both Options and Primary Options. Changes made to Options will only customize Lacerte on the one computer. Changes to the Primary Options will be shared across the network.
- Each Module will display a different set of user options.
- To change your options go to the Settings menu and choose Options or Primary Options.
Customizing your Setup
Use the Setup tab to specify preferences for general program operation and printing. For example, you can change the location of your client data by changing the data path in the Program Options section, or you can choose to have the program number your client's for you.
The options available are:
- Data Path - This tells the program where to save your data files.
- Printer Selection - This is your default printer, when printing from the program.
- Numeric Detail Input - This allows you to change the Input Method, Smart Input, and Automatic Detail Save.
- Client Selection - This allows you to change the Automatic Numbering and Display Total Number of Clients options.
- When clients are in your office, you may not wish display the number of clients on your client list. Select Yes to display the number and No to only display the number of clients selected.
- Complete Return - Printer / PDF / DMS / SV - These sections allow you to decide the number of copies you'd like printed, as well as the copy types you'd like printed when printing a Complete Return, by default.
- PDF is Portable Document Format / DMS is Document Management System / SV is Smart Vault.
- Complete Return - Email - This allows you to specify how to generate a password for email PDF copies.
- DMS Options - When printing to DMS, these extra options allow you to indicate how you want specific filing types organized within DMS.
- Expandable/Collapsible Sections - This allows you to automatically expand or collapse sections with no data when viewing the details screens within each client file.
- Tax Import Options - This allows you to view the file folder your Tax Import items are stored.
Customizing your Trustee Rights for network users
The Lacerte Tax programs allow network administrators the ability to grant and revoke each network user's rights to a program or feature in the Primary Options. These can be set up in the Trustee Rights tab.
Customizing your Status options
On the Status tab, you can use Client Statuses help identify where clients are in your firm's review process. Each tax program includes five default client statuses that you can modify. You can create up to 15 additional statuses* to assign to clients.
- Modifying and Adding a New Client Status
- *We recommend the following custom statuses to track your electronic workflow:
- The program keeps a history of the status assigned to each client so you can view which preparer have worked on a client's return and when various stages of review were completed. For example, if you want to check who changed a client's status to Final, you can use Client Status to view the client's history, who assigned the status, and when. Highlight the client and press F4 to view the status history. Make sure to document the status number associated with each status, as most reporting will use the number and not the description.
Customizing your fonts and colors
You can change the fonts and screen colors used in the program on the Fonts and Colors tab. You can customize the look of the client list and detail to make the program easier for you to use. For example, you can change the font type or size of the client list to make it easier for you to read.
We recommend Yellow for Highlighted items, Blue for Normal text, and Red for Imported data items. We also recommend changing your Prior Year program font to Pink so that the prior year programs are easily distinguished from the current year program. This will insure you don't inadvertently modify the prior year input when working a comparison.
Locking prior year or completed returns is also recommended to prevent making changes.
Customizing your Client list
On the Clients screen, the Client list includes columns of information about the clients in your database. Use the Display tab to change which columns display in the Client list, in what order they display, and how the program sorts your clients. For example, you can add the e-file Return? column and display whether or not clients are e-filing. You can also choose to sort clients by the e-file Return? column and group the clients by type of e-file in the Client list. To see all the options available for display, click Expand. Click Collapse to close the lists.
At a minimum, it is recommended that you include the following fields in the Client list display: Client Full Name, last name first, Current Status, Intuit Link, eSignature Status, Locked Return, Locked Date, as well as other fields that are helpful to your firm.
Customizing your interest rates
The program uses the interest rates and the filing date entered in Filing Date in the Penalties and Interest screen to calculate late penalties and interest. At the Interest Rates tab in Options, enter the interest rate that applies for each quarter, even if it is the same as the previous quarter. Use xx.xxx format (e.g., enter 10% as 10; enter 9 1/8% as 9.125).
Lacerte requires that all applicable quarters up to and including the filing date be entered in the respective fields. Failure to enter the IRS or state interest rates for any given quarter will cause incorrect late interest calculations. For returns filed after the last listed quarter, you must manually calculate late interest and enter it in the appropriate input field.
Because interest rates do not apply to Partnership returns, this tab does not display in the Partnership module.
Customizing your items to print
At the Items to Print tab, you can choose what items print with the different copies of tax return. For each copy of the return you can specify client correspondence, mailing envelopes, and slip sheets to print; and which supporting statements, worksheets, and diagnostics to include and their collation order.
For example, you can choose to print just the federal return, the state return, the client letter, and the client invoice for the Client Copy of the return. You can also choose to print the federal return, the state return, all worksheets, and all schedules for the Preparer Review copy. If you need three review copies (which include worksheets and diagnostics) and only one client copy, you can print just what you need, collated as you like.
When Only e-file Forms in Complete Return is set to Yes, only those forms that require a signature will print.
You can change settings for printing completely collated returns for:
- Preparer Review Copy (copies for review)
- Preparer File Copy (copies for your files)
- Client Copy (copies for your client's files)
- Government Filing Copy (final return copies to file with governmental taxing authorities)
- Extensions Only
- Additional K-1 Package (Partnership & S-Corp only)
- Participant Package (Partnership & S-Corp only)
It is recommended that the following forms be included at the beginning of the Client copy: Federal and State e-file Signature forms (8879), the Tax Summary, the Client Letter, and the Client Invoice. This will make it easier to print signature forms instead of the entire return, when you share an electronic copy.
Customizing your Tax Return display and printing options
At the Tax Return tab, you can specify how the program should print forms and schedules. In the Tax Return section, you can set options that control the way the program prints information on all forms in the return, such as text style, the order of descriptions of items, and so on. In the Federal Return and State Returns sections, you can control how and when the program prints specific forms and schedules. You can also select optional worksheets to print that can provide detailed information about specific calculations.
- Change how information prints on forms and schedules
- Change when forms and schedules print with a return
Customizing the Preparers in your firm
At the Preparers tab, you can enter information about each preparer in your firm (up to 500). Then, you can sort mailing labels, status reports, and client lists by preparer. At the Setup tab in the New Client Default Preparer box, you can specify the preparer to be assigned to all new clients. We recommend that you enter information for all of your preparers because many program features, such as the Appointment Manager and Database Reports, use this information.
Customizing your Firm information
In the Firm Info tab, you can change telephone, fax numbers, e-mail address, or EFIN number. However, for licensing purposes, you cannot change the Lacerte Customer Number, Firm Name, Firm Address, or ZIP code. If there is an error in this information, please correct it via My Account to receive a new Preparer File.