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Locking and Unlocking Tax Returns


Locking and Unlocking Tax Returns

How do I lock or unlock a client's tax return in the Lacerte Tax program?


Use the Lock/Unlock Return feature to protect your tax returns from any changes. When you lock a tax return, the program protects the client file from any changes made to detail. This includes changes made by entering new data, importing data, or calculation changes available in updated program versions.
If a program change does occur and it affects information in a locked tax return, the program will list Diagnostics alerting you to the changes. However, the program will not change your client's data until you unlock the return.
Note: By locking the return, you can only see a read-only version of the tax return until you unlock it.
Note: A consolidator file cannot be locked.   The linked parent and subsidiary files which the consolidated data pulls from can be locked.
For example, you can lock a tax return after you have passed it on as final to the client. No one in your firm can make changes to the return without unlocking it first.
Locking the return can act as a reminder that the return has been completed and filed.  2004 Lacerte Tax was the first year to include the Lock Return feature.

When a client file is locked, you can only view the client's detail as read-only.  You must unlock the client file before using any of the following:

  • Renumber the client
  • Changing client detail in the Detail Screens
  • Import K-1 Data
  • Import information from QuickBooks or EasyAcct.
  • Create an e-file return
  • Import E-Organizer
  • Clear Missing Data tags
  • Import General Ledger information
  • Use the Family Link
  • Split a Joint Return

Solution 1 - To Unlock a Client File:

  1. Click on the Clients tab (to view the list of your clients).
  2. Select the client(s) in the Client list.
  3. Click on Client.
  4. Click on Lock Return.
Note: If you are locking a client file for the first time, a Add Locked Return Column window will pop up on your screen:
Would you like to add the Locked Return column to your current view. If you choose, you can add or remove the Locked Return column for any view on the Client Screen by selecting Settings Options from the menu, then selecting the Display tab. Add Locked Return column to the current view?
  • If you choose Yes, Lacerte will automatically add the Locked Return column to the Clients tab.
  • If you choose No, Lacerte will not add the Locked Return column to the Clients tab.
With the Locked Return column in your current view, you can tell if a tax return is locked.  A locked return will have an image of a Lock in the column:
Another way to tell if a client is locked is by clicking on the Detail tab.  If the return is locked, a red status bar displays, alerting you that the client is locked:

Solution 2 - To Unlock a Client File:

  1. Click on the Clients tab (to view the list of your clients).
  2. Select the client(s) in the Client list.
  3. Click on Client.
  4. Click on Unlock Return.
  5. Click on the applicable option from the Information window:The client is locked. Locking a client file protects the information in the tax return from unauthorized or accidental changes. Would you like to make a copy of the original file before unlocking?
    • Click Yes to make a copy of the client file and to make changes in this copied file.
    • Click No to unlock the return and make changes in the original file.

Note: We recommend that you make a copy of a tax return before you unlock it, especially if the tax return has already been filed with the IRS.

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