Recommended names and descriptions for PDF files attached to Modernized e-File (MeF) business submissions


The IRS recommends the following names and descriptions be used for certain binary attachments used in MeF returns.

See the instructions in your tax preparation software for information on attaching binary files. Using the recommended names and descriptions provides consistency in what the IRS users are seeing and helps to expedite processing of these returns. The binary attachments fall into several categories:

  • attachments that are columnar or tabular format and would be easier for the user to read and understand if provided in PDF 
  • attachments that are third party documents
  • attachments that are allowed to be submitted as PDFs because of late legislation
  • attachments defined in known issues
  • attachments defined in frequently asked questions
  • attachments required by business rules (Note: If an attachment is defined in a business rule, the Description field must be exactly what is defined in the rule, or the return will reject.)

PDF file names are limited to 64 characters. Some tax software providers reserve a certain number of characters for their use. Description fields included in the XML file are limited to 128 characters. Software developers may have the Description field entered into the tax preparation software rather than into the XML. Check with your software developer for specifics on entering this information in your package. The Description field is what is displayed to the IRS user when they are viewing the return. It helps them decide which binary attachment they need to view for the information they require.

When multiple forms or statements are required, the taxpayer has the option to put all like-kind statements or forms in one PDF file or creating a separate PDF file for each statement/form. For instance, if three Section 351 statements are needed, they may all be included in one PDF file or each Section 351 statement may be in a separate PDF file.

The known issues and solutions may define how data may be provided in PDF. For example, Form 3468 line 12bb did not get changes to remove element "BssWindPropPlacedlnSrvcYr4Amt" and to change element "CalcBssWindPlcdSrvcYr4Amt" for TY 22 PY 23. Also, the schema was not updated to include a statement attachment.

  • An attachment is required to explain the catch all credits, per the new instructions, and this explanation will be attached at the form level.

Note: The Description field should be meaningful.

When a PDF is associated with an entity, enter the name (or part of the name if limited by the total number of characters) at the end of the suggested Description field listed below. For instance, if attaching an organizational chart to Form 5471 of a foreign corporation, use the following Description in the BinaryAttachment.xsd: Form 5471 Schedule O - Org Chart Foreign Corp 123.

The documents on this page will be updated periodically. Please check for the latest information on known issues and solutions and business rules. Business rules are available to authorized users listed on e-file applications for transmitters, software developers, and states.

Prior year recommended names and descriptions for PDFs

Modernized e-File (MeF) user guides and publications