Here's an overview of the processes and timeline that will get you up and running. We'll provide step-by-step support throughout the process. If you have questions about the process, you can contact us at TurboTax_Connect@intuit.com.
Steps to Set Up the OFX Server
- Acquire and set up hardware and Internet connectivity infrastructure, if necessary.
- Acquire the services of an OSP, if desired.
- For optimal integration with TurboTax, review the OFX Response Message Guidelines for important information about creating OFX response messages.
- Install the OFX server and software.
- Create an interface for authenticating customers, or integrate with an existing interface.
- Review the Open Financial Exchange Specification, the OFX Tax Extensions, and the TurboTax OFX mapping spreadsheets.
- Write software to map the data in your tax database onto the OFX specification. TurboTax has created the TurboTax OFX Mapping Spreadsheet to assist you in mapping data from your tax database on to the OFX Specification.
- Identify test accounts that meet the requirements stated in Test Requirements and Test Accounts. Provide authentication information and data printouts for these test accounts to your TurboTax import representative.
- Execute a preliminary test for syntactic accuracy.
- Complete Phase 2 - OFX Server Quality Assurance Testing.
- Complete Phase 3 - End-To-End Integration.
All tools and other supporting resources will be available to you once your institution is signed up as a TurboTax import partner, and you receive your credentials to access the password-protected areas of this partner portal.
Time Required for This Phase
The amount of time required to complete this phase varies depending on whether or not there is an OFX server already in place. We typically allocate two to four weeks for this phase.
Before You Begin
Before you being this phase, you must complete Phase 1 - OFX Server Setup. The test account requirements are explained in the Test Requirements and Test Accounts section.
What is Server QA Testing?
The purpose of the OFX server QA testing phase is to ensure that your OFX server performs in accordance with the OFX specification.
In particular, the following server requirements are tested:
The server must produce syntactically correct OFX messages for all aggregates and values in the OFX specification you intend to support.
The server must handle error conditions gracefully.
After you complete the OFX server QA testing, both you and Intuit can feel confident that your OFX Server will correctly handle all requests and error conditions that it might encounter in operation.
Executing the Server QA Process
Intuit has an OFX Server QA team dedicated to working with our partners to complete this testing process. This team has developed test suites for the various tax message sets (1099, W-2, and 1098) to support the TurboTax TurboTax import Program.
The OFX server QA testing process itself is usually a loop, outlined here:
- Execute test suite:
- Inform your TurboTax import technical representative that you are ready to begin Phase 2.
- Download the test suite and accompanying instructions.
- Execute the test suite according to the instructions. The entire suite usually takes less than two hours to complete.
- E-mail the output files to your TurboTax import technical representative for analysis. Four output files are created for each test account.
- Verify test suite results: The OFX Server QA Team reviews the test results and schedules a meeting with you and the TurboTax import representative to discuss the results.
- Fix problems: If any problems were found, make fixes and prepare the OFX server for another round of testing. The fixes may require changes to the OFX server and to the mapping software. Update the server with the fixes and repeat the process from step 1 until there are no problems.
Time Required for This Phase
The amount of time required to complete this phase depends upon the number of errors found and your ability to quickly resolve issues. We typically allocate one to five days for this phase.
During this phase, Intuit works with you to make sure that your OFX server integrates correctly with the TurboTax client.
Intuit does this testing on our end to ensure the import feature works properly for the customers. We also provide beta versions of TurboTax so that you may perform testing on your end.
Integration testing covers two areas of functionality. They can be tested simultaneously.
- Semantic content validation
- Connectivity testing
Semantic Content Validation
The next step in ensuring correct import functionality is called semantic content validation. This verifies that the semantics of the message are correct. It means that the OFX response messages generated by your server "make sense" from a tax perspective.
We check the following:
- The customer's tax data is mapped to the correct tags in the OFX response message.
- The values are correct (decimal is in the right place, sign is correct, etc.).
- The data flows through TurboTax to the right boxes on the customer's tax forms.
We do this testing by comparing the results of the import to the printed tax data you provided.
Executing the Semantic Content Validation Tests
Your TurboTax import technical representative will work with you to complete this testing. As with the OFX server QA testing phase, the process itself is usually a loop and is outlined here:
- Provide test account information: You should have already provided this information to Intuit during Phase 1: OFX Server Setup. The test account requirements are explained in the Test Requirements and Test Accounts section.
- Provide OFX response messages for test accounts:There are two ways in which you can provide the OFX response messages to Intuit
- Connected to the Internet. Ideally you should have an OFX server (test or production) connected to the Internet and available for Intuit to download the test accounts directly into the TurboTax product. If this is the case, we can accomplish the initial connectivity testing and the semantic content validation at the same time. You will be asked to provide your TurboTax import technical representative with the URL to the OFX server that we will use for this testing.
- No Internet connection. If you do not have Internet connectivity yet but are ready to begin the semantic content validation process, you must provide an electronic version of the OFX response messages generated by your server for each of the test accounts. Intuit will then manually import this information into the TurboTax product to perform the testing.
- Compare test account printouts with import results
- The Intuit Semantic Content Validation Team imports the test accounts into the TurboTax beta product.
- For each test account, we compare the results of the import (that is, the forms and fields in TurboTax that have been populated with the imported tax data) to the test account printouts you have provided. Your TurboTax import technical representative will schedule a meeting with you to discuss the results of this testing.
- Fix problems: If any problems were found with your server, you will need to resolve them and prepare for another round of testing. This may require changes to the OFX server and your mapping software.
Once your server is updated, we will repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no errors.
The amount of time required to complete this testing depends upon the number of errors found and your ability to quickly resolve issues. We typically allocate one day to two weeks for this phase.
Connectivity testing ensures that the TurboTax products can connect to, request tax data from, and receive tax data from your OFX server over the Internet.
Typical issues uncovered as a result of this testing include the following:
- Your server is unable to receive or parse the TurboTax OFX request message
- The server has load balancing issues
- The server has incorrect certificates
- There are database access problems
- TurboTax is unable to receive or parse the OFX response message sent by your server
Executing the Connectivity Tests
Your TurboTax import technical representative will work with you to complete this phase. As with the OFX server QA testing phase, the process itself is usually a loop, and it is outlined here:
- Initial testing
- If you did not have Internet connectivity set up for the semantic content validation tests, then you will need to perform this step separately.
- You can do the initial connectivity testing against your test environment (if you have one) as long as it mirrors your production environment (same server software, same database software, same certificates, and etc.).
- You need to provide the following to your TurboTax import technical representative:
- The URL to the server
- Authentication information for a test account that we can access (usually this will be one of the test accounts that was set up during Phase 1 - OFX Server Setup).
- Production environment testing
- Final connectivity testing against your full production environment must take place before you can go live.
- Ideally, we would like to be able to download test data directly from your production server as in step 1 above; however, in some cases this is not possible. As long as we have tested this functionality in a test environment, this requirement may be waived. Instead, we will test that we can connect to your production server from TurboTax and receive an OFX response message. Examples of reasonable responses:
- Your tax data is not yet available. Please come back after February 1, 20XX.
- The user name and password you entered are invalid. Please try again or contact Representative X at (800) xxx-xxxx.
TurboTax contains a customized screen for each of our partners, called the Authentication Screen. It allows your customers or employees to import their W-2 or 1099 forms from your organization into TurboTax.
We use information provided by you to create this screen, which includes your logo and the authentication method you prefer. We provide a web-based tool for you to submit this content and preview your import screen. Here's how it works:
This text — usually your company name — appears as a link in an alphabetic list of partners who participate in the TurboTax import Program. TurboTax customers click this link to get to your Authentication Screen.
This text appears at the top of the TurboTax Authentication Screen. The title must be 50 characters or less.
Your company logo appears beneath the screen title.
Submit your logo in 24-bit RGB .png format. Your logo must be 150 pixels wide by 31 pixels high OR 64 pixels wide by 64 pixels high and have a DPI of 72. The background color must be white (no transparency).
Paragraph One and Paragraph Two
The Authentication Screen layout allows for either one or two paragraphs of text. Each paragraph may contain up to nine lines (if a 150x31 pixel logo is used) or seven lines (if a 64x64 pixel logo is used). Each line may contain up to 64 characters
Paragraph One: typically, paragraph one is used to explain to your customers what information they need to enter to log on and obtain their tax data. This is usually called "authentication" data.
Paragraph Two: generally, paragraph two is used to tell your customers what to do if they have questions or need additional assistance.
Include a Hyperlink. You can include one clickable hyperlink anywhere you wish within the paragraphs. Typically, partners place the link at the end of paragraph two to direct their customers to the company's support Web page.
The maximum length of the paragraphs will depend upon the logo size that you choose:
Logo Size | Number of Lines Allowed
150x31 | 9 lines (64 characters)
64x64 | 7 lines (64 characters)
Character and line limits are provided as guidelines; however, TurboTax uses variable-width fonts, so limits are not always completely accurate. To ensure that the paragraph text fits and looks the way you want it to, make sure you preview your screen on the Web site after you have entered all of the information.
Hyperlink Text and URL
The hyperlink text is the underlined text that TurboTax customers click to link to a page on your organization's Web site.
By default, the hyperlink text appears at the end of paragraph two. If you want it to appear in a different location within the paragraphs, type a tilde character (~) where you want the hyperlink to appear.
The hyperlink text may contain up to 64 characters.
The hyperlink URL specifies the URL that your customers go to when they click the hyperlink text.
Typically, this is a location on your company's Web site where your customers can get more information about the TurboTax import feature.
Important: you must fully specify this URL. Example: http://www.ABCinvest.com/import
Authentication and Password Fields
Your customers must enter some type of logon information to obtain their tax data. This information is called authentication information
TurboTax allows for up to three authentication fields and one password field.
The text that you provide for the authentication and password fields should explain to your customers what they must enter to obtain their tax data.
You can include extra information that will help your customers avoid mistakes. For example, if they need to enter their Social Security Number without the dashes, include that in the field description, like this: "SSN (no dashes):".
Authentication field 1 and the password field are required. Authentication fields 2 and 3 are optional. Most partners typically just use authentication field 1 and the password field. Each field can contain up to 50 characters.
OFX Server URL
This is the web address of your OFX server from Phase 1.
If you are using a Hosting Partner, or if an OSP set up your OFX server, please contact them for this URL.
Behind the scenes
Your customers enter their identifying information on the Authentication Screen. The authentication information the customer enters is sent in the request message to your OFX server. Your OFX server then uses this information to authenticate the customer and find all of the required tax information that must be returned in the OFX response message.
For details about which OFX tags contain this information, contact your TurboTax import representative.