Participants Acceptance Testing (PATS) - Individual & Business e-file
What is PATS, BATS and ATS?
PATS which stands for the Participants Acceptance Testing System, is a testing requirement for Software Developers, Reporting Agents, and Transmitters planning to transmit individual electronic returns to the IRS.
The same type of testing process is also required for software developers, reporting agents and transmitters of electronic business returns, and is referred to as the Assurance Testing System (ATS) and/or Business Acceptance Testing (BATS). A listing of Business e-file test publications is shown below.
Note: An e-file provider who functions only as an Electronic Return Originator (ERO), does not have to go through IRS PATS (BATS/ATS) testing.
The purpose of PATS is to ensure, prior to live processing, that Providers transmit in the correct format and meet the IRS electronic filing specifications; that returns have few validation or math errors; that required fields will post to the IRS Master File; and that Providers understand the mechanics of IRS e-file.
Transmitters perform a PATS test. Most software packages (IRS accepted e-file software) have PATS tests built into their software so that completing this requirement is relatively easy. Follow the direction in the software or documentation package. If you have problems, you should contact the vendor who sold you the software or contact the software's technical support operation.
PATS usually consists of two transmissions of test electronic return data, three test returns in one transmission and two test returns in the other. Both transmissions must be made on the same day. To pass the test, both transmissions must be error-free.
If the software appears to be working correctly but you are unable to complete the tests, do not receive acknowledgment files, or experience other problems, contact the e-Help Desk at 1-866-255-0654 (toll-free).
If your software does not have IRS e-file PATS, BATS or ATS tests built in, the following publications provide direction and information you will need to complete individual and/or business e-file testing. You may find these publications on irs.gov or you may order them by calling 1-800-829-3676.
Individual and Business e-file Test Packages
Publication 1436, Test Package for Electronic Filers of Individual Income Tax Returns.
Publication 1438, Validation Criteria and Record Layouts for Form 1041
Publication 3823, Employment Tax e-file System User Guide
Publication 4205, Modernized e-File Test Package for Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, 1120- POL and 8868
Publication 3225, 1065 e-file Test Package