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Testing Instructions for Current ExSTARS Participants

November, 2010 (ExSTARS Version 2.2.4 ANSI ASC X12 Version 4030)

General Information

Electronic Participants (including registered terminal operators, pipeline carriers, ship carriers, and barge carriers) are required to test their EDI process for the electronic filing of information returns. The following instructions are designed to provide all current production Electronic Participants the necessary information to test the most recent version of the electronic filing process.

The most recent release of ExSTARS as outlined in IRS Publication 3536 (Rev. 3-2010) includes a significant number of important changes:

  • Expansion of Mode Codes to require reporting of imports and exports .
  • Expansion of Mode Codes to require reporting codes for end-use, replacing “RT” (mode code “RT” is no longer valid).
  • The use of 7’s, 8’s & 9’s for an EIN are no longer allowed. All 9’s can only be used to report rail or truck carriers when EIN is unknown.
  • Position Holder EINs must be reported on all terminal receipts of product codes Exx, Bxx or Dxx.
  • Position Holder EINs for disbursements and receipts of certain fuels (Exx, Bxx or Bxx) product codes must be reported when blended in terminal and reported as product reclassifications. Use Book Adjustment (mode code BA).
  • Terminal operators and bulk carriers must report the United States Coast Guard Vessel (USCG) Official Numbers (VON) or International Maritime Organization (IMO) Vessel Official Numbers when mode of transport code is B_ (Barge), IB (Import by Barge), EB (Export by Barge) S_ (Ship), IS (Import by Ship), or ES (Export by Ship) for all receipt and delivery transactions.
  • Elimination of error response code ‘00002’ (record correct as submitted) for correction transactions BTI14=’CO’.
  • Corrections/amendments to files submitted in previous ANSI X12 version (4010) can be accomplished using supplemental files (BT114 = 6S) in ANSI X12 version 4030. You must contact the EDI help desk for assistance.
  • Replacement files for error correction (BTI14 = “6R”) must be used in order to amend an incorrect mode code at the TFS~T3 level when the original file generated a must fix error due to an invalid or missing vessel official number because the incorrect mode code of S_, IS, ES, B_, IB or EB was provided.
  • Receipt or disbursement transactions of zero net gallons should not be reported.
  • Vessel operators are now required to report receipt and delivery transactions at every facility that has an FCN. Previously, only transactions at approved terminals were reportable. Note: Pipeline operators are only required to report transactions at approved terminals.
  • There are now restrictions on the product codes that can be reported by terminal operators as receipts in book adjustment transactions (product reclassifications).

Terminal Operator

Please note – important! Due to the requirement for submitting “balanced” monthly transaction reports as outlined in the IRS ExSTARS EDI Implementation Guide (IRS Publication 3536 Rev. 3-2010), a terminal operator must submit a physical ending inventory for the month prior to the date of reporting. This is conveyed through the use of the Beginning Inventory (BI) qualifier in the FGS segment of the TFS summary information loop ( TFS01=”T2”). The beginning inventory for each product code reported must be provided for the first month of reporting in both testing and production EDI submissions.

If you do not report the beginning inventories for each product reported, ExSTARS will assume a beginning inventory of “zero” (0) gallons and may cause your monthly filing to be “out-of-balance”, causing the file to be rejected. Once you have submitted a beginning inventory for a product code, you will no longer need to furnish a beginning inventory for that same product code. If you attempt to submit at a later date another beginning inventory for a product code for which you have already reported a beginning inventory, any subsequent beginning inventory you report will be ignored. The ending inventory by product code from the last month of reported activity for that product code will always be carried forward as the next reporting month’s beginning inventory.

Test Files

Carriers and terminal operators will be required to file their reports in the EDI format. These reports will contain all of the detail for each shipment for the month the Information Provider is required to file. In order to ensure the quality of the information obtained from this filing requirement, the IRS will subject the information received to a set of tests. These tests will help guarantee that the information submitted is useful.

The T/P Indicator

The IRS will utilize the Test/Production indicator as part of the electronic file. A description of this indicator can be found in the IRS EDI Implementation Guide. When submitting test files, you must set the ISA15 element to "T" for Test Data.

Version Upgrade Testing: Qualification testing shall be comprised of the following steps:

  1. EDI structure/syntax translation testing
  2. Terminal Operator or Combined Terminal Operator/Carrier validation testing
  3. Carrier validation testing
  4. Replacement file correction testing

The EDI testing requirements are provided for a variety of scenarios that are detailed in Table 1. The time required to complete the testing will vary by trading partner dependant on the success of initial translation maps and data quality. When setting up for testing, the trading partner should have staff dedicated to complete the testing cycle in an expeditious manner enabling a quick move to production.

Qualification Testing Prerequisites

Before sending test files for validation, all participants must complete the following steps:

  • Read and understand the IRS Publication 3536 Excise Tax EDI Guide (Rev. 3 -2010) to gain knowledge of the most current approved implementation convention and any changes that will be validated during testing.
  • Complete internal testing.
  • Take all necessary precautions to ensure that production and test EDI transactions cannot be mixed.
  • Understand the filename convention requirements for test and production files uploaded to ExSTARS:

    All files submitted to ExSTARS should be named using the following naming convention: ‘Name Control’_’ Sender-ID’_‘transaction set type(i.e. 813)’_‘period being filed (formatted mmccyy)’_‘’T’est or’P’roduction’_‘qualifier from BTI13 or BTI14(“00” original, “6S” supplemental,”6R” replacement, “CO” correction) followed by the extension ‘.edi’.

    Example: EXCI_85966953520000_813_052011_T_00.edi

    NOTE: File names cannot contain spaces or special characters and the file extension should always be ‘.edi’. File names that contain spaces or special characters will not process and you will not receive any acknowledgement files.

If you experience difficulty logging into ExSTARS, please email the IRS ExSTARS Help Desk at: sbse.excise.exstars@irs.gov and provide your name, ExSTARS logon user ID, company name and telephone number. If you are unable to email the helpdesk you can also call (859) 669-5352 (not a toll free call) for assistance.

How to Make Testing Arrangements with IRS ExSTARS

After completing the qualification testing prerequisites, submit the FAX described below to begin testing. The IRS ExSTARS EDI Helpdesk will contact the Electronic Participant to begin testing.

When prepared to initiate testing of the most recent ExSTARS version, send a fax to:

Attn: IRS – Excise at (216) 898-6567 (not a toll-free number.)

Include the following information on your FAX cover sheet:

  • Company Name;
  • EDI Contact Name;
  • EDI Contact Phone Number;
  • EDI Contact Email;

NOTE: This FAX is the document that starts the ExSTARS qualification testing process. Uploading test files without the FAX contact sheet will not get the process started.

EDI Structure/Syntax Translation

Step 1 of the version upgrade qualification process will be used to verify that the structure/syntax contained in the EDI files submitted by the information provider/transmitter is sound. The files will need to be compliant with EDI ANSI ASC X12 Version 4030 and the IRS ExSTARS Publication 3536 Rev. 3-2010 Excise Tax EDI Guide. Items such as field length, loop structures and use of supplied ID qualifier codes will be checked during this phase. Data validity is not checked during this phase.

Success for this step of the testing process is determined to be:

  • The participant’s ability to successfully submit one (1) original (BTI13 = ‘00’) 813 transaction set to ExSTARS that processes without any outstanding reject syntax errors identified in their 997 acknowledgment file (AK501 and AK901 do not equal “R”); and that also produce 151.edi and 151.txt files ( and TIR.txt files for terminal operators)
  • The participant’s ability to download and translate 997 and 151.edi acknowledgement transaction sets
  • The participant’s ability to download and understand 151 acknowledgments in .txt format, and if filing a terminal operator report the ability to download and understand the Terminal Inventory Report (TIR.txt)

Once syntax translation for one filing period is completed with accepted acknowledgment files, it is time to progress to the next step of EDI version upgrade qualification testing.

Terminal Operator or Combined Terminal Operator/Carrier Data Validation Testing

This step of the testing process will be used to verify that the data content contained in the files is valid. The files will need to be compliant with EDI ANSI ASC X12 Version 4030 and the IRS ExSTARS Publication 3536 Excise Tax EDI Guide guidelines. Data validity is checked during this phase. Items such as validation of FEIN numbers, FCN numbers, 637 registration numbers, product codes, vessel official numbers, mode codes and state code abbreviations along with out-of-balance conditions, total net reported valuations will be checked. Data is also reviewed in terms of the reporting of actual fuel movement inventory transactions as opposed to “book inventory” accounting transactions. ExSTARS is a physical inventory system, and accounting transactions should not be reported (e.g. zero gallon transactions or negative gallon ending inventories). Information providers should use actual FEIN, TCN, FCN, VON and 637 registration numbers in their test files. Transmitters may utilize their own FEIN numbers in their transaction sets for testing purposes. The files may be derived from current or historical data and should be information that is representative of a filing period.

  1. Submit one original (BTI13 = ‘00’) 813 transaction set. (note: this can be the same file as submitted in Qualification Phase I). If you are submitting a terminal operator report, in the first filing period you must submit beginning inventory amounts for each product code at each terminal in order to achieve a “balanced” file. Please note – Important! If you do not submit beginning inventories, the ExSTARS system will assume a beginning inventory of “zero” for each product code in the initial filing period that is reported without a beginning inventory amount. After the first month’s filing has been accepted without any remaining errors, the ending inventory for each product code at each terminal will be carried forward as the beginning inventory for the next month that that product code is reported at that terminal, regardless if beginning inventories are reported in subsequent filing periods.

    Because all data errors must be resolved before the next period filing will be accepted, it may be necessary to contact the ExSTARS EDI Helpdesk to identify data errors such as FEINs or Vessel Official Numbers that are either not valid or are valid and not present on the ExSTARS data validation tables. The ExSTARS EDI Helpdesk can resolve data errors for test files and during the testing phase, but information providers must correct all outstanding data errors with EDI files when they are in production. Telephone and email contact information for the ExSTARS EDI Helpdesk will be provided when the information provider/transmitter is contacted before Step I of qualification testing.
  2. If you are reporting as a terminal operator the beginning inventory, ending inventory and any gains or losses by product should also be included as part of the header summary report. Your report should also summarize the total net reported (sum of all TIA 5001 gallons in the transaction set)
  3. If you are filing a combined reports as a terminal operator and a petroleum carrier, your report should include the beginning inventory, ending inventory and any gains or losses by product. Your report should also summarize carrier receipts and carrier disbursements by each product code received from and delivered to a terminal.

Success for this step of the testing process is determined to be:

  • The participant’s ability to successfully submit one filing period’s original (BTI13 = ‘00’) 813 transaction set to ExSTARS that processes without any outstanding syntax or data errors identified in their 997 and 151 acknowledgment files
  • The participant’s ability to download and translate 997 and 151 acknowledgement transaction sets, and take appropriate actions, as needed, dependant on any errors that might have been identified within the 997 and 151 acknowledgment transaction sets
  • The participant’s ability to download and understand 151 acknowledgments in .txt format, and if filing a terminal operator report the ability to download and understand the Terminal Inventory Report (TIR.txt) and take appropriate actions, as needed to correct any inventory issues identified in their TIR.txt file or data errors identified in their 151.txt acknowledgment files

Each qualification testing phase may also be utilized on request by production ExSTARS participants to test changes in application files and software, user programs, EDI software, backup procedures, and exception processing by both the Information Provider/Transmitter and IRS. If an Information Provider or Transmitter desires to conduct additional testing that might be required due to internal information system changes, new transaction functionality, change of terminals being reported or other reasons after they have completed their Version 4030 Data Error Correction Testing phase, contact the ExSTARS EDI Helpdesk in order to initiate additional testing.

Carrier Data Validation Testing

This step of the testing process will be used to verify that the data content contained in the files is valid. The files will need to be compliant with EDI ANSI ASC X12 Version 4030 and the IRS ExSTARS Publication 3536 Excise Tax EDI Guide guidelines. Data validity is checked during this phase. Items such as validation of FEIN numbers, FCN numbers, 637 registration numbers, product codes, vessel official numbers, mode codes and state code abbreviations and total net reported valuations will be checked. Information providers should use actual FEIN, TCN, FCN, VON and 637 registration numbers in their test files. Transmitters may utilize their own FEIN numbers in their transaction sets for testing purposes. The files may be derived from current or historical data and should be information that is representative of a filing period.

  • Submit one original (BTI13 = ‘00’) 813 transaction set. (note: this can be the same file as submitted in Qualification Phase I).

    Because all data errors must be resolved before the next period filing will be accepted, it may be necessary to contact the ExSTARS EDI Helpdesk to identify data errors such as FEINs or Vessel Official Numbers that are either not valid or are valid and not present on the ExSTARS data validation tables. The ExSTARS EDI Helpdesk can resolve data errors for test files and during the testing phase, but information providers must correct all outstanding data errors with EDI files when they are in production. Telephone and email contact information for the ExSTARS EDI Helpdesk will be provided when the information provider/transmitter is contacted before Step I of qualification testing.
  • If you are reporting as a petroleum carrier your report should summarize the total net transported for all carrier receipts and carrier disbursements net gallons

Success for this step of the testing process is determined to be:

  • The participant’s ability to successfully submit one filing period’s original (BTI13 = ‘00’) 813 transaction set to ExSTARS that processes without any outstanding syntax or data errors identified in their 997 and 151 acknowledgment files
  • The participant’s ability to download and translate 997 and 151 acknowledgement transaction sets, and take appropriate actions, as needed, dependant on any errors that might have been identified within the 997 and 151 acknowledgment transaction sets
  • The participant’s ability to download and understand 151 acknowledgments in .txt format

Each qualification testing phase may also be utilized on request by production ExSTARS participants to test changes in application files and software, user programs, EDI software, backup procedures, and exception processing by both the Information Provider/Transmitter and IRS. If an Information Provider or Transmitter desires to conduct additional testing that might be required due to internal information system changes, new transaction functionality, change of terminals being reported or other reasons after they have completed their Version 4030 Data Error Correction Testing phase, contact the ExSTARS EDI Helpdesk in order to initiate additional testing.

Error Correction and Replacement File Testing

This phase of the qualification testing process will be used to verify that the information provider/transmitter is capable of correcting data errors that are identified in the 151 acknowledgment files generated in response to the submission of 813 transaction sets. These data errors must be corrected through the submission of error correction files where the BTI14 value = ‘CO’ (correction file) or ‘6R’ (replacement file), but all information providers/transmitters must be capable of correcting must fix data errors with a replacement (‘6R”) file.

In addition, information providers/transmitters in either test or production status that plan to or are required to submit supplemental files must also participate in supplemental file qualification testing. They must demonstrate their ability to amend previous filings that were accepted as completed without data errors, but contained erroneous information (e.g. a valid but incorrect position holder or a valid but incorrect carrier FEIN, or transactions that reported a valid but incorrect product code). These data “mistakes” must be amended through the use of supplemental files where the BTI14 value = ‘6S’ (supplemental file).Supplemental files are also used to report transaction activity that is older than 365 days from the period end date of the current filing month.

For the data error correction qualification testing phase the electronic participant must utilize at least the replacement (BTI14= ‘6R’) files method of data error correction.

  1. Using the last test file of data successfully submitted in Phase II or III, the ExSTARS EDI Helpdesk will intentionally introduce a set of data errors and re-submit that original complete test file with the introduced errors that must be corrected. These data errors might typically include invalid FEINs, invalid state abbreviation codes, invalid transaction dates and missing bill of lading/ticket number/document number information for individual receipt/disbursement transactions.
  2. The information provider/transmitter will receive, download and process the 997 Functional Acknowledgment and the 151 Data Acknowledgments. ExSTARS will process the 813 original file containing the data errors as outlined in Step 1 and generate to the participant a 997 Functional Acknowledgment transaction set, a 151 Electronic Filing of Tax Return Data Acknowledgment EDI transaction set, a 151 data acknowledgment in text format, and if the information provider is a terminal operator a Terminal Inventory Report text file.
  3. Submit an 813 replacement (BTI14= ‘6R’) test file containing all corrected data for the errors identified in the 151 Data Acknowledgment, The replacement file (BTI14= ‘6R’) deletes all previously submitted data sent in the original file (BTI13= ‘00’) for the filing period when the “must fix” data errors were generated, and then is processed in a manner that is similar to an original file. If there are any must fix data errors resulting from the submission of a replacement (BTI14= ‘6R’) these errors must be resolved before the filing period is complete and before an original file for the next filing period can be submitted. Whether error correction is accomplished through the use of a correction or replacement file, all outstanding “must fix” errors for the filing period must be resolved before that period’s filing is acknowledged as complete and the information provider can submit and original file for the subsequent month.
  4. The information provider/transmitter will receive, download, and process the 997 Functional Acknowledgment and a 151 Data Acknowledgment. ExSTARS will process the 813 error replacement and/or correction files submitted in Step 3 that are intended to correct all of the outstanding “must fix” the data errors that were identified in the 151 acknowledgment files in Step 2; and will then generate the corresponding 997 and 151 data acknowledgments, and if the information provider is a terminal operator a Terminal Inventory Report text. The goal of this Step is to receive a 151 text data acknowledgment or in the PBI06 data element of the 151 EDI data acknowledgments file that states: “There are no open errors; this period’s filing is complete.”
  5. If there are still “must fix” data errors identified in the 151 Data Acknowledgment files from Step 4, repeat Steps 3 through 5. Steps 3 through 5 will be repeated until the desired results have been achieved. The goal of this Step is to receive a 151 text data acknowledgment or in the PBI06 data element of the 151 EDI data acknowledgments file that states: “There are no open errors; this period’s filing is complete.”

Success for this phase of the testing process is determined to be:

  • The participant’s ability to download and translate 997 and 151 acknowledgement transaction sets, and take appropriate actions, as needed, dependant on any data errors that might have been identified within the 151 acknowledgment transaction sets
  • The participant’s ability to successfully submit a replacement (BTI14 = ‘6R’) 813 transaction set and optionally a correction (BTI14= ‘CO’) 813 transaction set to identify and correct any errors identified by the 151 acknowledgment transaction sets
  • The receipt of a 151 text data acknowledgment (or in the PBI06 data element of the 151 EDI data acknowledgment) file that states: “There are no open errors; this period’s filing is complete.”

Changing the T/P Indicator

Following the successful completion of Data Error Correction Testing, Information Providers will be mailed a notice of completion. Upon receipt of this notice, filers must change the test and production indicator (ISA15) from “T” to “P”. When filing a production file, you should always set the indicator to "P" for Production Data. Filers should begin submission of their monthly electronic 720 TO/CS filings in the production environment as soon as they have received this notice of completion.

For the supplemental file (BTI14= ‘6S’) qualification testing phase the electronic participant must submit at least one supplemental (BTI14= ‘6S’) file to amend and/or append data from a previous filing period that has been accepted as complete with no open errors.

  1. Using the last month of data successfully submitted in Phase II or III, the ExSTARS EDI Helpdesk will identify a set of data in the original completed test file that must be amended and appended through the use of a supplemental ( BTI14= ‘6S’) file. These identified data amendments might typically require the deletion of transactions associated with a previously submitted and valid carrier FEIN, TCN or position holder FEIN; and the subsequent insertion of corresponding transactions associated with a different unique and valid carrier FEIN, TCN or position holder FEIN. In addition, the test supplemental file will also contain a minimum of one additional “new” transaction that was not previously reported. The transactions identified to be amended by the supplemental file will be conveyed in a text file placed in the participant’s download directory. Additional instructions may be transmitted via email or telephone.
  2. The information provider/transmitter will submit an 813 supplemental (BTI= ‘6S”) transaction set to amend the data previously submitted and accepted for the filing period per the instructions in Step 1. ExSTARS will process the 813 supplemental file containing the data to be amended as outlined in Step 1 and generate to the participant a 997 Functional Acknowledgment transaction set, a 151 Electronic Filing of Tax Return Data Acknowledgment EDI transaction set, a 151 data acknowledgment in text format, and if the information provider is a terminal operator a Terminal Inventory Report text file.
  3. The information provider/transmitter will receive, download, and process the 997 Functional Acknowledgment and a 151 Data Acknowledgment. The ExSTARS EDI Helpdesk will review the changes to the ExSTARS database that were generated by the supplemental file to assure that the intended amendments were effected. Another goal of this Step is to receive a 151 text data acknowledgment or in the PBI06 data element of the 151 EDI data acknowledgments file that states: “There are no open errors; this period’s filing is complete.”
  4. If the intended changes were not effected, repeat Steps 1 through 3. Steps 1 through 3 will be repeated until the desired results have been achieved.

ExSTARS EDI Version Upgrade Qualification Testing Scenarios

 

ExSTARS EDI QUALIFICATION SCENARIO STEP I EDI STRUCTURE/SYNTAX STEP II TO DATA VALIDATION MODE CODE PRODUCT CODE, PRODUCT RECLASS, VON, POSITION HOLDER STEP III CS DATA  VALIDATION MODE CODE PRODUCT CODE, VON, FCN STEP IV REPLACEMENT FILES
CURRENT 4030 ExSTARS 720 TO PARTICIPANTS REQUIRED REQUIRED NA REQUIRED
CURRENT 4030 EXSTARS 720CS PARTICIPANTS REQUIRED NA REQUIRED REQUIRED
CURRENT 4030 APPROVED EXSTARS COMBINED 720 TO/CS PARTICIPANTS REQUIRED REQUIRED REQUIRED REQUIRED
CURRENT 4030 APPROVED EXSTARS TRANSMITTERS/INFORMATION PROVIDERS REQUIRED REQUIRED REQUIRED REQUIRED

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 19-Aug-2014