Twilio is a subscription-based service you can use to send SMS text messages to your clients directly from TaxSlayer Pro. If you've purchased TaxSlayer Pro Premium, you can integrate Twilio into the program.
Once you have signed up for Twilio, you'll need to set up your Twilio number, either purchasing one of theirs or using your own. Follow their instructions for setting up the Twilio number.
When your signup is complete you will have three bits of information to enter into TaxSlayer Pro configuration. Look for these in your Twilio Console under "Account Info":
- Your account security identifier (SID). This is your Twilio username.
- Your "Auth Token". This is your Twilio password.
- Your Twilio phone number. (If you don't see this number in Account Info,
sign up for one with Twilio.)
All three of these bits of information are necessary to be able to use Twilio in TaxSlayer Pro.
TaxSlayer Pro Configuration
One thing you'll need to decide is which of the three phone number fields in a tax return you will use for mobile devices. When preparing a tax return, always enter the taxpayer's mobile number in this field so the Twilio app can find it.
In TaxSlayer Pro, the default labels for the phone number fields are "Phone 1", "Phone 2", and "Phone 3". To help you and other preparers remember which field is the cell phone field, consider relabeling the phone fields. To do that, from the Quick Menu of TaxSlayer Pro select:
- Advanced Configuration
- Macro (Most Common) Setup
- Phone Descriptions - Select and relabel each field as desired.
Before configuring the Twilio settings in TaxSlayer Pro, be sure you are logged into the Twilio website to the page showing your "API credentials", i.e., your SID, Auth Token, and Twilio phone number.
To configure TaxSlayer Pro to use Twilio, from the Quick Menu select:
- Configure Premium Options
- Configure Twilio Text Message Options
- Offer Twilio Text Message - Click Yes, then enter the SID, Auth Token, and Phone Number in the spaces provided. Since the SID and Auth Token are lengthy and complex, it's best to copy each from the Twilio website and paste each into the Twilio setup menu. For the Twilio phone number, enter only the area code and number. Don't include the "+1" that precedes the number.
- Twilio Cell Phone Field - Indicate which field in a return is the cell phone field.
After entering this info, select Send Test Text. You'll be prompted for a cell number to send a test message. Send a message to your own number. If the message comes through, you're all set.
If the message doesn't come through, it's possible it's been temporarily delayed or it's possible your carrier is blocking it. (A carrier may erroneously block certain messages or certain numbers as spam.) If it doesn't come through, liaise with your mobile carrier to determine if it's blocking the message and/or liaise with Twilio if they are aware of a service outage.
If you receive an error message on-screen beginning with "There was a problem sending your text message", at least one of the three bits of information has been entered incorrectly. Troubleshooting steps:
- Verify the accuracy of the SID, Auth Token, and Twilio phone number in the Twilio setup menu.
- Verify the SID and Auth Token haven't been reversed, entered into the other's field.
- If the error refers to either the "To" or "From" number, then the Twilio phone number isn't correct.
Sending a message
Within a tax return, select Send Text Message from the left side menu. If a phone number hasn't been entered in the designated cell phone field in the return you will be asked to enter a number. After that, enter the message (160 characters maximum including spaces) and click Send Message.
If you receive an error beginning with "Message unable to be sent: The 'From' number XXXXXXXXX is not a valid phone number, shortcode, or alphanumeric sender ID", then the Twilio phone number in configuration is incorrect or no longer valid.
If you receive an error beginning with "Message was unable to be sent: Authenticate at ...." then the SID and/or the Auth Token in configuration is incorrect.