The first step in the installation process is to download the installation file from your Account Hub, open it, and install the program. After installing it you should see a Windows desktop icon labeled 2020 TaxSlayer Pro.
Step 1: Start the Program
Double‐click the TaxSlayer Pro Icon. You will be greeted with a TaxSlayer Pro message advising you of the information that will be entered during the initial program configuration. (For additional information, click the "TaxSlayer Pro Quick Start Manual" link.) Press Enter or select OK.
A summary of program security information displays next. Read each section carefully. When finished, press Enter or select OK.
Step 2: Network Setup
What does it mean for TaxSlayer Pro to be used in a network?
- If more than one computer in a location will be used to prepare tax returns, and you wish to allow a preparer to work on any return they have permission to access from any computer, you will be using a Network.
- If only one computer in a location will be preparing tax returns, or you will have more than one computer prepare returns but each preparer will work only on their own computer and their returns aren't available to anyone else, you will NOT be using a Network.
If there is not a previous year's installation of TaxSlayer Pro on this computer, you will be asked if you will be using a network. Select YES or NO as appropriate.
On the other hand, if TaxSlayer Pro is already installed on this computer from the previous tax season, you will be asked if you would like to use the same network configuration as last year.
- If you are not using a network and didn't use one last year, select YES.
- If you are using a network and want to use the same settings as last year, select YES.
- If your office setup has changed from last year, either a change to using or not using a network, or if the transmitting computer — which is also typically the computer designated as the file server — has changed, select NO and refer to the Network Setup section below for more information.
Before moving along, you will be presented with the network configuration to confirm the settings chosen. Two caveats regarding the File Server settings in a networked setup:
- If "File Server?" = NO, the "File Server Address" information should not be the same as the "Local Computer Name" and "Local IP Address" information.
- Only one computer in a TaxSlayer Pro network configuration should have the setting "File Server?" = YES. Unusual problems can occur if more than one computer is indicated as a file server,
If you are using a network, note that if you are installing the program on a computer not designated as the File Server (aka "a Workstation"), many of the following questions will be skipped as the required information will be pulled from the File Server.
Step 3: Firm Information
At this screen, simply fill in all the required information. When entering the name and address of your firm, do not enter punctuation, such as apostrophes, commas, periods, etc. If you enter any of these characters, the program will prompt you to remove them before continuing.
The IRS requires that your unique EFIN Validation Code be entered in the software. Your EFIN Validation code can be found by logging in to your TaxSlayer Pro Account Hub:
- Log in to Account Hub.
- Click Account History in the left side menu.
- Under Payment History, click View
- Note the 12-character code beginning with "7Q" on the line for this year's software purchase:
Store Purchase - Order #1xxxxx | Receipt
EFIN validation code 7Qxxxxxxxxxx. You will need to enter this into your 2020 Software.
You can copy the code off the screen and paste it into the space provided, or you can manually key it in.
Once you have finished entering the firm information, select Exit.
Step 4: Create the Administrator Account Password
The Administrator account username is ADMIN. The ADMIN account is used to manage firm, ERO, and preparer information as well as preparer security roles. The ADMIN account does not prepare tax returns, and the username cannot be changed, nor can any of its security role or other settings be changed.
You will be prompted to create a password for the ADMIN account, using the same password requirements for preparers. The password must be between 8 and 30 characters in length, and it must contain:
- at least one uppercase letter,
- at least one lowercase letter,
- at least one number, and
- at least one special character, such as $, @, !, #, etc.
You will also be prompted to create a security question and answer for the ADMIN account. The security question is used in the process of changing the ADMIN password to verify that the user attempting to change the password has permission to do so.
Step 5: Enter/Edit Preparers
If TaxSlayer Pro 2019 is installed on your computer, you will be prompted with a question asking to Pull Preparers from Prior Year. If you would like to pull the preparers forward, select YES. Once the preparers have been pulled forward, you can edit the information pertaining to each preparer if needed, delete obsolete preparers, and add new preparers.
NOTE: Each preparer's username, password, and assigned security role are pulled forward from the previous year. Any of these settings can be modified from the Preparer Setup Menu.
Adding New Preparers
If you do not pull forward preparers from the prior year, or you have a new preparer to add, you will be given the option to enter preparers. To enter a preparer:
- Select New
- Enter a Preparer Code. Each preparer is assigned a unique number that appears in their returns and is used to pull their information into the return. You can use any number from 1 to 999999.
- Enter the preparer’s SSN, PTIN, first name, middle initial, and last name.
- Enter a username that the preparer will use to log into the program. Each preparer has a unique username. You won't create their password. The preparer will create their own password and security question when they log into the program for the first time.
Select OK to proceed to the Preparer Edit Menu. The Preparer Edit Menu gives you the option to add or change several other items:
- Preparer Practitioner PIN (the 5-digit PIN that populates to federal and state e-file signature forms);
- Preparer Hourly Rate (if you are using hourly billing);
- Preparer Prep Fee Commission % (if preparers earn a commission based on a return's prep fees);
- Preparer E-File Fee Commission % (if preparers earn a commission based on a return's e-file fee);
- The preparer’s power of attorney information (if the preparer is an Acceptance Agent);
- Indicate if the preparer is supervised, in which case their supervisor's information will appear on tax returns rather than the preparer's information;
- The preparer firm information, if it is different from your firm information;
- The preparer's security role and specific security settings, as well as clearing their password and security question to be recreated upon their first (or next) login.
Newly added preparers are assigned the default security role “Super User.” A Super User has access to all tax returns and all areas of the program except firm, ERO, and preparer Information, security roles settings. To change the preparer's default security role, select
- Preparer Security
Step 6: Bank Setup
For 2020, the following banks are affiliated with TaxSlayer Pro:
- EPS Financial
- Refund Advantage
- Republic Bank
- Santa Barbara TPG
If you will be offering bank products, we encourage you to complete and submit a bank application in Account Hub as early as possible. For more information about these banks, click here.
If you are already approved with one or more banks, the bank(s) should appear in the Banks window. If you do not see your approved bank, please contact TaxSlayer Pro Sales.
Once the bank has been selected, you will be shown a menu with bank product options such as advances, pre-ack advances, and the use of debit cards. If the bank has approved you for any of the options shown, select the option and when queried select YES so the option will be available to present to your client when finalizing their return. NOTE: A disbursement or advance option will not be available to be offered in a return if it hasn't been selected here.
Step 7: Fee Setup Menu
The amounts specified in the Fees Menu are used to calculate the tax return preparation fee that appears on the Client Invoice. If you used TaxSlayer Pro last year, or you entered fees in the TaxSlayer Pro demo program, you can pull the fees forward by selecting the Pull Prior Year Fees button. To change a fee or to enter a new fee, select the line for the form and enter the fee.
If you charge by the hour, check the Charge by the Hour check box in the lower left‐hand corner of the screen. Custom Fees and Custom Discounts can also be created from the Fees menu. Select the Exit button when you have finished configuring your fees.
Step 8: Client Letters
You will be prompted to pull from the prior year each customizable client letter. If you made changes to any of the client letters, select YES to pull them forward, preserving the changes. Otherwise, select NO to use the default client letters.
Step 9: Path Menu
The settings defined within the Path Menu tell the program where prior year data is located and the path to a secondary backup drive.
Prior Year - The prior year path will only need to be changed in an unusual situation, and the default path is generally correct. If the prior year path is changed and incorrectly specified you will not be able to pull prior year client data forward into the current year's return. Edit this item only if you know the prior year data is not stored in the directory path indicated, but with this important caveat: Prior year data must be installed on the same drive as the current year's installation.
To change the location, select Prior Path and enter the absolute DOS path, i.e., the drive letter followed by a colon plus the directory location on the drive with each directory separated by a backslash. If you need assistance, please call TaxSlayer Pro Technical Support.
Secondary Backup Path - A secondary backup can be specified here if desired. This backup is generally to a removable drive, such as a thumb drive or external hard drive. (Secondary backup to a cloud location is not supported.) To set up a secondary backup path for your tax returns, do the following:
- Plug the drive into the computer
- Select Secondary Backup Path, and select the drive letter for the drive.
Two caveats about the secondary backup drive if you have one specified here:
- The drive must be plugged into the computer when working on returns. If it is unplugged, you will receive an error message when exiting a return that the return could not be saved to it.
- Only return data is backed up. Printed PDF copies of the return as well as supporting documents, such as driver's license images, aren't saved.
Step 10: Macro Setup
A macro, by definition, is a shortcut to a task you do repeatedly. In TaxSlayer Pro, macros reduce the number of keystrokes by allowing you to select an entity from a list or to complete name and address fields simply by entering the EIN. TaxSlayer Pro maintains six macros:
- W-2 employers and 1099 payers
- K-1 entities
- Child Care Providers
- Interest and dividend payers
- Charitable organizations
To pull forward prior year macros, or enter new ones, select YES when queried. You will be asked about pulling forward each of the six macros and will be given the opportunity to add to or edit each list if desired. Select Exit at the bottom of each list to proceed to the next macro list. All these lists can be revisited after the program has been installed.
Step 11: TaxSlayer Pro Premium
If you purchased TaxSlayer Pro Premium, enter the activation code if queried. The activation code can be found by logging in to your TaxSlayer Pro Account Hub:
- Once you have logged in, click Pro Premium in the left side menu.
- Copy and paste the 9-digit activation code into the program, or type it in.
The program will guide you through the process of configuring premium features. If prompted to use prior year settings for PaperCut e-mail, select YES. Otherwise enter your email address when prompted. The email method will default to TaxSlayer Pro. You can choose SMTP if desired, and the settings you need can be obtained from your e-mail provider online in their e-mail support information. Look for settings related to the "outgoing mail server".
Several other premium options can be configured from the Premium Configuration Menu. See here for more information on all the Premium features. If you would like to upgrade to TaxSlayer Pro Premium and take advantage of the TaxesToGo Mobile App, online client status, text messaging, and PaperCut, contact TaxSlayer Pro Sales at 1.888.420.1040.
NOTE: If you upgrade to TaxSlayer Pro Premium subsequent to installing the program, activate it within TaxSlayer Pro by selecting from the Main Menu:
- Configure Premium Options, and enter the activation code.
To activate Paper Cut, change “Use Paper Cut Paperless Office Option” to YES. To activate the Text Messaging feature, change “Send Text Message to Clients” to YES.
Step 12: Exit Configuration
Before exiting the final window headed "Software Installed!", check the date, time, and time zone on your computer to ensure they are correct. If the date and time are not correct, the program will not be able to communicate with our server. Adjust the date by clicking the time and date display in the Windows taskbar, typically at the bottom right‐hand corner of the screen.
Setting up the TaxSlayer Pro network takes only a few minutes if your office network is already working properly.
IMPORTANT – If your office network is not set up or is not functioning properly, contact your local network technician for assistance. TaxSlayer Pro technicians cannot assist with the network settings in TaxSlayer Pro if your office network is experiencing problems.
Here are a few items to consider when setting up the TaxSlayer Pro network:
- The TaxSlayer Pro Network operates in a peer‐to‐peer environment. This means that the TaxSlayer Pro program must be installed on each computer in your office that will be used to prepare tax returns. The program cannot be installed on a central file server and distributed across the network.
- Make sure that File and Printer Sharing is enabled within your anti‐virus program. Some newer anti‐virus programs will block file sharing on networks.
If you are not familiar with the information listed above or are encountering problems, we suggest contacting a local network or computer technician to assist with the network setup.
In TaxSlayer Pro, only one computer is designated as the File Server and only one computer should be designated as the Transmitting Computer. The simplest and easiest setup to manage is for the same computer to handle both functions.
During initial configuration of the program, you will be asked if this computer is the File Server. Select YES or NO as appropriate. You will then be asked if this is the Transmitting Computer. Select YES or NO as appropriate.
To return to the network settings menu after initial configuration, from the Main Menu of TaxSlayer Pro select
- System/Network Configuration Menu
ADMIN Account – The Administrator account username is ADMIN. The ADMIN account is used to manage firm, ERO, preparer information, preparer security roles, and fees. The ADMIN account does not prepare tax returns, and its username, security role, and related settings cannot be changed.
During the initial configuration of the program, you are prompted to create a password and a security question and answer for the ADMIN account. Store this information securely as it may be necessary to log in as ADMIN at a subsequent point in time.
Usernames – Each preparer using the software logs into the program using a unique username and a password. During the initial configuration of the program, you will be prompted to assign (or pull forward from the prior year’s software) a username for each preparer entered in the Preparer’s Menu.
Passwords – Each preparer associated with your firm must use their assigned username and a strong password to access the tax program. A preparer's password and security question and answer aren't assigned in the Preparer Security menu. Rather, when a preparer logs into the software for the first time with their assigned username, they will be prompted at that time to create a password and a security question and answer.
Passwords will expire and need to be reset every 180 days.
NOTE: If you are not prompted to log in when you start the program, the program is experiencing a problem and we recommend that you contact support immediately.
The TaxSlayer Pro program includes a set of predefined security roles. Roles are used to set permissions for each preparer. Newly added preparers are defaulted to the security role "Super User." A Super User has access to all tax returns and all areas of the program except firm, ERO, preparer information, the security roles settings, and fees. The security role can be changed during initial installation, otherwise to change a preparer's security role from the Main Menu of TaxSlayer Pro select:
- Firm/ERO/Preparer Setup
- Preparer(s) Menu - Select the preparer
- Preparer Security
- Role - Choose the desired role