Print this checklist or keep it open while you work on your return. You should start at the top and complete each step in order. If you are planning to e-file, click on the following link and take a moment to review ways you can avoid common errors which will cause a rejection of your return: Avoiding Common Errors.

Before you get started we would like to suggest that you take a few moments to sketch your return out by hand. It doesn't have to look pretty. You can use the Forms & Instructions link on our homepage to print out a blank copy of the forms. We recommend this because it will help you to accurately complete your return. Think of it as being similar to balancing a checkbook. You have a checkbook in one hand and a bank statement (with a reconciliation) in the other. The goal is to get the two to agree to each other. The same concept can be applied to the preparation of your return. First, you sketch out your return by hand. Second, you key your information into our website. Then you can compare the two (when you get to Step 8 below) and eliminate any differences. Any differences you find will occur either from an error in you handwritten calculations or from a keying error when you entered your information in our website.

Step 1 (Browser Settings): We use temporary or session cookies to keep track of users while they are logged on. We also use JavaScript to verify the completeness and punctuation of information before it is forwarded to the server. Make sure your browser is using default settings. If you are using Internet Explorer go to the toolbar and select Tools/Internet Options. Make sure the Security and Privacy tabs are set to Default. On the Advanced tab, click the Restore advanced settings button. On the General tab, the Browsing history Settings button (used for checking for newer versions of stored webpages) should be set to everytime you visit the webpage. When you are done, remember to click the Apply button in the lower right hand corner and then close all windows you have open (other than this one and our homepage). Note: we recommend you do not use browser options for remembering email keys or data you enter on different pages. If your browser prompts you for this option (with a pop up message) we recommend you answer no.

Step 2 (Email Key Request): Click the blue button on our homepage. Answer No to the email key question if you need to have a email key emailed to you.

Step 3 (Log On): Once you have a email key you can log on to the server. After clicking the blue button on our homepage and answering Yes to the email key question, enter the requested log on information. If you have problems logging on, make sure you are typing the email address and email key correctly. If you continue to have problems try using your mouse to highlight the email key and email address contained within your email key email and paste them onto the log on page.

Step 4 (Primary SSN): After you have logged on you are asked to enter the Primary Social Security Number for the return you intend to work on.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Even though you are doing a state only return, you still need to include Federal return information as part of your state (only) return. Therefore, you need to enter your Federal information in Steps 5 through 7 and make sure the Federal return in Step 8 is correct. Pay particular attention to the Federal Adjusted Gross Income and the Federal Taxable Income.

Step 5 (Section 1): The Section 1 screen asks for information regarding the Primary taxpayer and the filing staus you intend to use for the return.

Step 6 (Section 2): The Section 2 screen is broken down in the same fashion as the actual Federal tax return. The page contains a series of questions based upon the different line items you find on the Federal tax return. Each question includes color coded text that references the line number from the Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ. A State tax return selection menu also appears at the bottom of this page. If you do not have a copy of a form or instructions, you can click on the Forms & Instructions link on our banner and open a copy in a separate window. You need to select the items that are applicable to your return. IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure you check the state only box at the bottom of the page.

Step 7 (Section 3): The Section 3 page will appear with a series of links based upon your answers to the questions in Section 2. Starting from the top of the page and working downward, open each link and enter the information requested. Note: if you leave a page on your screen for more than 30 minutes your session may time out and you will need to close your browser window, reopen it and log on again to get back into your return. Also, be sure to use the navigation buttons at the bottom of each linked page you go into. If you use the arrow keys on your browser your information won't be saved and you will end up having to reenter it. Finally, do not click buttons more than once. Sometimes due to heavy traffic it may take a few seconds for a page to load or change. Be patient. If you feel it is necessary to click again on a Add or Continue button, click the Stop button on your browser toolbar first. IMPORTANT NOTE: We automatically pick up the withholdings from your W-2, Unemployment, and Retirement income entries. DO NOT enter these withholdings again on another input screen.

Step 8 (Section 4): The Section 4 page displays the calculated amount of your refund or balance due. A series of links is displayed representing the various pages in your return(s). Review your return(s). You may want to make an initial print out of your return(s) and do a review on paper. If you need to make changes click the Go Back button to return to Step 5 (Section 1) and cycle through back to this step. If you return to Section 3 to make changes it is not necessary to reopen every link on the page (just open the ones you need to change). Once you are satisfied with your return(s) make a print out or open each link and save a copy of the complete webpage to a floppy disk. Click the Continue button if you are planning to e-file. IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure the blue text near the top of the page indicates you checked the state only box at the bottom of Section 2. If it doesn't return to Section 2 and check the state only box at the bottom of the page.

Step 9 (Signature): IMPORTANT NOTE: This step applies ONLY to Michigan taxpayers. There are two ways to sign an e-filed state only Michigan return. You can file a completely paperless return using a self-select PIN (the Michigan ESA) or you can use a MI-8453 signature page (which does NOT need to be mailed in). Choose the type of signature you wish to use.

Step 10 (Section 5): Information necessary to complete the e-filing of your return is requested.

Step 11: The next page will send you to our secure credit card processor if you need to pay our fee. Once your credit card payment is approved, your return is transmitted. Users making a retransmission of a rejected return are moved from Step 10 directly to Step 12.

Step 12 (Log Out): A Thank You page is displayed and you are logged out. The government lets us know within 24 hours (72 hours between late April and the end of the filing season) plus 1 to 2 business days if your return is accepted or rejected. We relay this information to you via the email address you used to request a email key. Be sure to look for this email and follow any instructions given to you when you get it. Send us an email inquiry if you do not receive it. Once you have made an approved credit card payment (see Step 11) you can Delete your return information from the server (using the Delete button on our homepage). If your return is rejected we will restore your rejected return onto the server so you can make corrections. Before you Delete your information make sure you have printed or saved a copy of your return. We currently do not charge a retrieval fee to e-file users who Delete their return and then ask for a copy at a later date. However, we do reserve the right to begin charging for this service in the future.