Changes to IRS ExSTARS System
The IRS recently announced that ExSTARS version 2.3.0 is now running in production to process the ExSTARS EDI files submitted. Many of the changes will be transparent, however there are a few items worth noting.
Most errors which previously would have generated a 997E (accepted with errors) return file will now result in a 997A (accepted). In those cases, you will also receive a 151 which indicates what, if any, errors were contained in the file. Please note that even though you have a 997A, you may still have must fix errors that must be corrected before your next filing. The IRS has also enhanced its software to provide the help desk with more details in the event the system generates a 997R (rejected) file. This will aid the help desk in quickly identifying the problem so they can then contact the filers to help them resolve the issue.
The new system will now accept book adjustment receipts into all products. Filers can begin the process of transferring their reported inventories out of the substitute product codes and back into the normal product codes:
For example, say last month you reported and ending inventory of 1,000,000 gallons of S92. This month you would report a transaction on the disbursement schedule 15B in the amount of 1,000,000 gallons under product S92 with a mode of BA . Also report a receipt transaction on schedule 15A in the amount of 1,000,000 gallons under product 092 with a mode of BA.
Also, don’t forget to make sure that any product code conversions you may have specified which utilize the substitute product codes are updated to once again use the corresponding approved codes. Please note you have until 10/1/2019 to make these changes.
Since the change, the IRS has seen a number of cases where filings have generated errors due to missing gross gallons. Please ensure that you are populating the gross quantities in all required cases. If the values are in your system but not in the edi file submitted, you may need to contact your software provider as they may need to update their software.
Finally with the new updates, the IRS is now validating the vessel number information provided. Currently invalid numbers will result in a warning. Starting 10/1/2019 they will result in must fix errors. In the new system, you will receive more details on what the incorrect value is, helping you to locate the transactions with the incorrect values quicker so they can be fixed.
Details on acceptable numbers and proper formatting can be found in the IRS Facts section at https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/vessel-identification-numbers.
Two good websites to aid in validating individual numbers are the US Coast Guard website at https://cgmix.uscg.mil/PSIX/PSIXSearch.aspx and the Equasis website at http://www.equasis.org/EquasisWeb/public/HomePage