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IRS holds testing session this week for FATCA information exchange

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Those who are subject to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) - financial institutions – and those who have agreed with the US to help make it work - tax administrations - have a chance this week to get a feel for the mechanics of how information will be exchanged under the legislation.

The Internal Revenue Service announced yesterday (February 17) that the FATCA International Data Exchange Service (IDES) will hold an open testing session from February 18 at 2 AM EST to February 20 at 5 PM EST. It will be open to financial institutions and tax administrations who enrol fully as IDES users before February 17 2015 at 2 AM EST.

The IRS advised that to complete the enrolment process, users need an IRS-issued GIIN (Global Intermediary Identification Number) or HCTA (Host Country Tax Authority) Entity ID, a username and a valid certificate, and, before they start testing, to review the data preparation instructions and the IDES User Guide (Rev 2-2015).

Users also should follow the guidelines for recommended file names posted on the IRS website and use test data only. “The test files should not contain any production data or personally identifiable information, such as the taxpayer number, account number, or social security number,” the IRS announcement said.

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