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Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE)

What is an Information Return

An information return is a tax document used to report certain types of payments made by financial institutions and others who make payments as part of their trade or business as required by Internal Revenue Code Regulations. Forms 1042-S, 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8027, 8955-SSA, and W-2G may be filed electronically via the FIRE system.

Who Can Participate

Anyone with a Transmitter Control Code (TCC) who is required to submit the above information return forms to the IRS can file electronically. The law requires any corporation, partnership, employer, estate and/or trust, who is required to file 250 or more information returns for any calendar year, must file electronically.  IRS encourages filers who have less than 250 information returns to file electronically as well.

What are the benefits of Electronic Filing

By transmitting your Information Returns through the Filing Information Returns System (FIRE), you can process your files faster and with fewer errors. Listed below are a few benefits of electronic filing:

  • FIRE System can accept multiple files for the same type of return.
  • Combined Federal/State Filing Program (CF/SF) available for participating states.
  • Fill-in Forms are available for Form 4419, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) and Form 8809, Extension of Time to File Information Returns. 

How to Transmit through FIRE

A Transmitter Control Code (TCC) is required to transmit information returns through the FIRE system. The most efficient way to submit an application to file information returns electronically is to submit the Fill-in Form 4419, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE), from the FIRE homepage at http://fire.irs.gov.  You may also go to www.irs.gov Forms and Pubs and select the paper version of Form 4419 Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically.  Be sure to submit your application at least 45 days prior to the due date of your information returns.

ALERT!  Beginning in January 2015, approval letters will not be issued for Form 8809. Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns (30-Day) Requests. 

ALERT!  New password security requirements for the FIRE System

Passwords must be 8-20 characters and include at least one uppercase and one lowercase letter, one number, and one special character (#?!@$%^&*.,’-).

The effective dates for the new Password requirements are:

  • November 3, 2014 FIRE Test System
  • January 20, 2015  FIRE Production System

FIRE Test System - The IRS encourage filers to submit a test file to ensure their hardware and software are compatible with IRS systems.

Note: FIRE Test system will be down for yearly updates from 6 p.m. (Eastern) December 12, 2014, through January 4, 2015.  Test files cannot be submitted during this time.

  • System may be down every Wednesday from 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. (EST) for programming updates.
  • Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding, testing is available January 5, 2015 to February 20, 2015.

FIRE Production System - Available for electronic submissions

Note: FIRE Production system will be down from December 12, 2014, to January 20, 2015 for yearly updates. 

  • The system may be down every Wednesday from 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. (EST) for programming updates.

Record specifications and file layout for TY 2014 can be found in the following publications.

  • Publication 1220, Specifications for Electronic Filing of Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8935, and W-2G 
  • Publication 1239, Specifications for Electronic Filing of Form 8027, Employer's Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips
  • Publication 1187Specifications for Electronic Filing of Form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding 
  • Publication 1516Specifications for Electronic Filing of Forms 8596, Information Returns for Federal Contracts  
  • Publication 4810Specifications for Electronic Filing of Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement of Identifying Separated Participants With Deferred Vested Benefits

 

Available Assistance

Assistance is available to payers, transmitters, and employers at the telephone numbers below for the following issues:

  • Questions from the payer and transmitter community relating to the correct preparation and filing (electronic or paper) of business information returns (Forms 1096, 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8027, 8596,  and W-2G).
  • Questions related to electronic filling of Form 1042-S Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding, and Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits.
  • General Instructions for Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements.
  • Notice CP2100,  Please check your Backup Withholding List.
  • Notice 972CG, A Penalty is proposed for your Information Returns.

 

Contact the IRS Monday through Friday

 1-866-455-7438  Toll Free

1-304-263-8700 International

1-304-579-4827 Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD).

The numbers listed above cannot provide assistance with individual taxpayer returns or account related issues.  Assistance is available at 1040 central

 

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 21-Oct-2014