The IRS issued an October 2023 version of Publication 5078, Assurance Testing System (ATS) Guidelines for Modernized e-File (MeF) Business Submissions, for processing year 2024.
Publication 5078 contains general and program-specific testing information for use in completing the ATS process. The ATS is a process to test software and electronic transmissions prior to accepting software developers, K-1 aggregators, transmitters, and large taxpayers into the MeF program.
Business forms covered by the test package include the following forms in the 94x series: Form 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return; Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return; Form 943, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees; Form 944, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return; and Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax.
Form 1042, Annual Withholding Tax Return for U.S. Source Income of Foreign Persons, is also included.
Software developers supporting the 94x series MeF forms must use the MeF developed ATS Scenarios to pass ATS Testing. Separate software identifications are required for the 94x series quarterly forms and 94x annual forms.
The purpose of testing prior to live processing is to ensure that the IRS can receive and process the electronic returns with fewer validation and math errors in the correct format according to the IRS MeF electronic filing specifications. The IRS strongly recommends that software developers use the ATS system to retest when there are schema changes.
The ATS opening date was October 23, 2023. The IRS’s MeF ATS webpage has more information for processing year 2024.
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