How can I avoid Schema Validation Errors in my e-filed returns?

Schema Validation Errors are errors in the format of the electronic file return which can be caused by missing or invalid information. The program is constantly being updated to issue disqualifying diagnostics to help prevent these issues; however, the federal and state entities release revised schemas throughout the year. Each update can potentially cause new Schema Validation Errors as the layout of the e-file is changed.

To help prevent Validation Errors, verify the following:

  1. Update to the current version of the tax program. Since the different government entities release revised schemas throughout the year, being on the most up-to-date version of the software helps ensure you are on the correct schema version.
  2. Avoid using government form overrides.
  3. Avoid using the special characters: ‘#’, ‘[‘and ‘]’ in your data entry.
    • Additional special characters to avoid include: ’&’, ‘-‘, �’<’, ‘%’, ‘+’ and ’/’. You can use these special characters only in certain cases specified by the taxing authorities in their schemas. If you use these characters in entries where they are not allowed, the return will reject or result in a Schema Validation Error.

Note: Some Schema Validation Errors should be expected and are unavoidable, these are just some items that could help prevent the error.

Here is a sample of what a Schema Validation Error will look like:

  • “The element 'StudentAndEducationalInstnGrp' in namespace 'http://www.irs.gov/efile' has invalid child element 'StudentSSN' in namespace 'http://www.irs.gov/efile'. List of possible elements expected: 'StudentNameControlTxt' in namespace 'http://www.irs.gov/efile'.”

This schema error is for a 2014 Individual return. It indicates that Form 8863 either has incomplete or invalid information. This error could have been due to a government form override on the student name.

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