The purpose of testing 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; and that Providers understand the mechanics of IRS e-file.
All Software Developers must complete Acceptance or Assurance Testing in accordance with the applicable publication for each type of return. Communication testing is a requirement for Reporting Agents and Transmitters planning to transmit electronic returns to the IRS. Most software packages (IRS accepted e-file software) have communications tests built in so that completing this requirement is relatively easy. Follow the directions in the software or documentation package. If you have problems, you should first contact either the vendor that sold you the software or the technical support operation for the software package.
A Provider can view the test status of each form it transmitted to the IRS by accessing the firm’s IRS e-file application and clicking on the “FORMS” link. The form/format previously selected for Transmitter Provider Option is displayed in a table along with the status. The status is updated from “test” to “production” when required communication testing is completed. The status is set back to “test” around the end of October for Forms 1040, ETD (electronically transmitted documents), 1041. These are the only forms requiring renewed communications testing prior to each filing season. Software Developers can view the information they provided to the IRS about each of their software packages, the IRS assigned Software ID number, and the test status of a particular package.
If the software appears to be working correctly but you cannot complete the tests, you do not receive acknowledgment files, or experience other problems, contact e-help at (866) 255-0654 (toll free).