Mandatory reporting of merchant credit and debit card transactions to the Internal Revenue Service could prove time consuming and costly for acquirers and the independent sales organizations, according to Paul Martaus, president of the Mountain Home, Ark.-based consulting firm Martaus & Associates Inc. A provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 would require merchant acquirers to provide annual reports listing the name, address, taxpayer identification number, and the gross amount of credit and debit card transactions for each merchant customers to the IRS (CardLine, 7/28). Acquirers and ISOs likely would have to absorb the costs ofh collecting and securely storing merchants' information, Martaus says. Depending on how the IRS handles the provision, "there is a very strong likelihood that the ISOs themselves are going to have to go to every merchant location in the country they have clients in and reprogram all the terminals," says Martaus. In the past, acquirers and ISOs have not collected some information the IRS would require under the provision, such as taxpayer identification numbers. Consumers, though, may ultimately pay for the change. "Acquirers and ISOs will have to absorb the cost of this," but they will pass those costs to merchants, who will increase prices for consumers, Martaus says.

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