Internal Revenue Bulletin:  2005-30 

July 25, 2005 

Rev. Proc. 2005-42

Specifications for Filing Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, Electronically or Magnetically


IMPORTANT NOTES:
IRS/ECC-MTB now offers an Internet connection at http://fire.irs.gov for electronic filing. The FIRE System will be down from Dec. 23, 2005 through Jan. 3, 2006 for upgrading. It is not available during this time for submissions.
Beginning in Tax Year 2006, processing year 2007, IRS/ECC-MTB will no longer accept 31/2-inch diskettes for filing information returns.

PART A. GENERAL

Sec. 1. Purpose

.01 The purpose of this revenue procedure is to update Rev. Proc. 2001-16, 2001-4 I.R.B. 376, IRS Pub. 1245 Rev. 02-2003, which outlines the requirements and conditions for submitting certain Forms W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, electronically or magnetically to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Enterprise Computing Center — Martinsburg (ECC-MTB).

.02 Revenue procedures are generally revised to reflect legislative, regulatory and form changes. Comments concerning this revenue procedure or suggestions for making it more helpful can be addressed to Internal Revenue Service, Enterprise Computing Center — Martinsburg, ATTN: Information Reporting Program, 230 Murall Drive, Kearneysville, WV 25430.

.03 The following revenue procedures and publications provide more detailed filing procedures for certain information returns and can be obtained on our web site www.irs.gov or by calling 1-800-829-3676:

  1. Instructions for Forms 1099, 1098, 5498, and W-2G providing specific instructions on completing and submitting information returns to IRS.

  2. Rev. Proc. 84-33, 1984-1 C.B. 502, regarding the optional method for agents to report and deposit backup withholding.

  3. Publication 1179, Rules and Specifications for Substitute Forms 1096, 1098, 1099 Series, 5498, and W-2G.

  4. Publication 1220, Specifications for Filing Forms 1098, 1099, 5498, and W-2G Electronically or Magnetically.

  5. Publication 1239, Specifications for Filing Form 8027, Employer’s Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips, Electronically or Magnetically.

.04 Refer to Part A, Sec. 9, for definitions of terms used in this publication.

Sec. 2. Nature of Changes

Numerous editorial changes have been made to this revenue procedure. Please read the publication carefully and in its entirety before attempting to prepare your electronic/magnetic file for submission. Major changes are italicized. The changes are as follows:

.01 Employers are no longer required to routinely submit Forms W-4 to the Service. However, Forms W-4 are still subject to review. Employers may be directed (in a written notice or in future published guidance) to send certain Forms W-4 to the Service.

.02 IRS/ECC-MTB no longer accepts 8mm, 4mm, Quarter-Inch Cartridges (QIC ) for the processing of information returns. Filing with 31/2-inch diskettes will be discontinued for Tax Year 2006. While IRS/ECC-MTB will accept 31/2-inch diskette filing for Tax Year 2005, specifications were deleted from this revision since this publication is revised infrequently. Filers should consult previous revisions for diskette specifications if you are planning to submit 31/2-inch diskettes this year.

.03 The Martinsburg Computing Center’s name was changed to the Enterprise Computing Center — Martinsburg (ECC-MTB).

.04 The title of Publication 1245 is changed to Specifications for Filing Form W-4 Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, Electronically or Magnetically.

.05 Part B, Electronic Filing Specifications, was completely revised. Please read carefully. We now offer an internet connection at http://fire.irs.gov.

.06 The organization of information in Publication 1245 was changed for emphasis and clarity. Part D, Miscellaneous Information, was deleted since this information is found in Part A, Sec. 3. Part B is now Electronic Filing Specifications, Part C is Magnetic Media Specifications.

.07 Additional editorial changes of a clarifying nature have been made throughout this publication. Please read the entire publication carefully.

Sec. 3. Where to File and How to Contact the IRS, Enterprise Computing Center — Martinsburg

.01 All Forms W-4 filed electronically or magnetically are processed at IRS/ECC-MTB. Magnetic media containing Forms W-4 is to be sent to the following address:

  IRS-Enterprise Computing Center — Martinsburg  
  Information Reporting Program  
  230 Murall Drive  
  Kearneysville WV 25430  

.02 Requests for paper forms and publications can be made by calling the “Forms Only Number” listed in your local telephone directory or by calling the IRS toll-free number 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).

.03 Questions pertaining to electronic/magnetic media filing of Forms W-2 must be directed to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Filers can call 1-800-SSA-6270 to obtain the phone number of the SSA Employer Service Liaison Officer for their area.

.04 A taxpayer or authorized representative may request a copy of a tax return or a Form W-2 filed with a return by submitting Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, to IRS. This form may be obtained by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).

.05 The Information Reporting Program Customer Service Section (IRP/CSS), located at IRS/ECC-MTB, answers electronic/magnetic media, paper filing, and tax law questions from the payer community relating to the correct preparation and filing of business information returns (Forms 1096, 1098, 1099, 5498, 8027, W-2G, and W-4). IRP/CSS also answers questions relating to the electronic/magnetic media filing of Forms 1042-S and to the tax law criteria and paper filing instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3. Inquiries dealing with backup withholding and reasonable cause requirements due to missing and incorrect taxpayer identification numbers are also addressed by IRP/CSS. Assistance is available year-round to payers, transmitters, and employers nationwide, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern time, by calling toll-free 1-866-455-7438 or via email at mccirp@irs.gov. Do not include SSNs or EINs in emails since this is not a secure line. The Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) toll number is 304-267-3367. Call as soon as questions arise to avoid the busy filing seasons at the end of January and February. Recipients of information returns (payees) should continue to contact 1-800-829-1040 with any questions on how to report the information returns data on their tax returns.

.06 Telephone inquiries may be made Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern time. The telephone numbers for electronic/magnetic media inquiries or electronic submissions are:

Information Reporting Program Customer Service Section
TOLL-FREE 1-866-455-7438 or outside the U.S. 1-304-263-8700
email atmccirp@irs.gov
304-267-3367 — TDD
(Telecommunication Device for the Deaf)
304-264-5602 — Fax Machine
 
Electronic Filing — FIRE system
http://fire.irs.gov
 
TO OBTAIN FORMS:
1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676)
 
www.irs.gov — IRS Website access to forms

Sec. 4. Filing Requirements

.01 On April 14, 2005, the IRS issued temporary regulations (Treasury Decision 9196, 2005-19 I.R.B. 1000) that eliminated the requirement that employers routinely send copies of these potentially questionable Forms W-4 to the IRS. However, Forms W-4 are still subject to review. Employers may be directed (in a written notice or in future published guidance) to send certain Forms W-4 to the Service. These temporary regulations provide rules for the submission of copies of certain Forms W-4 to the IRS, the notification provided to the employer and the employee of the maximum number of exemptions permitted (“lock-in letters”), and the use of substitute forms. See T.D. 9196 at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-irbs/irb05-19.pdf.

.02 When instructed by IRS, employers may submit all information electronically or magnetically; a combination of electronic/magnetic files and paper documents is acceptable, provided there are no duplications or omissions of documents.

.03 Electronic/magnetic reporting to IRS eliminates the need to submit copies of paper Forms W-4.

.04 If part of the Forms W-4 are reported electronically/magnetically and the remainder are reported on paper forms, the paper Forms W-4 must be mailed to the Cincinnati Service Center, Cincinnati, OH 45999.

Sec. 5. Form 4419, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically/Magnetically

.01 Employers, or their transmitters, who wish to file Forms W-4 electronically or magnetically, must first submit a Form 4419, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically/Magnetically. Instructions for its completion are on the reverse of the form.

.02 Electronic/magnetic files may not be submitted to IRS/ECC-MTB until authorization to file is received by the employer. Requests will be approved or disapproved within 30 days of receipt.

.03 Once authorization to file has been granted, a five-character alpha/numeric Transmitter Control Code (TCC) will be assigned. Approval will continue in effect in succeeding years provided the requirements of the current revenue procedure are met. Although a TCC may have already been assigned to a transmitter for the filing of other information returns, the Form W-4 requires a separate TCC. This TCC must appear on all transmittal forms submitted with electronic/magnetic files, as well as other correspondence. The TCC must also be coded into positions 319-323 of the Form W-4 record. (See Part C, Sec. 3.)

.04 A new application (Form 4419) is required if:

  1. You discontinue filing electronically/magnetically for two years, in which case your TCC may have been reassigned. You may call IRS/ECC-MTB to verify if your TCC is still valid.

  2. You previously used a service bureau with its own TCC, but you now have computer equipment compatible with that of IRS, in which case you must request your own TCC.

Sec. 6. Filing Forms W-4 Electronically/Magnetically

.01 Employers who choose to file electronically/magnetically must send a Form 6466, Transmittal of Forms W-4 Reported Electronically/Magnetically, to the IRS/ECC-MTB as prescribed in Part A, Sec. 3.

.02 Form 6466 MUST be signed by the employer or the transmitter, service bureau, paying agent, or disbursing agent (all hereafter referred to as agent), on behalf of the employer if the agent has the authority to sign the affidavit under an agency agreement (either oral, written, or implied) that is valid under state law and adds the caption “FOR: (name of employer).”

.03 Although a duly authorized agent signs the affidavit, the employer(s) is held responsible for the accuracy of the Forms W-4 filed electronically or magnetically.

.04 DO NOT REPORT THE SAME INFORMATION ON PAPER DOCUMENTS THAT YOU REPORT ELECTRONICALLY/MAGNETICALLY. If you report part of your Forms W-4 on paper and part electronically or magnetically, be sure that duplicate information is not included on both.

.05 Before submitting your electronic/magnetic file, include the following:

  1. A signed Form 6466, Transmittal of Forms W-4 Reported Electronically/Magnetically along with a Form 6467, Transmittal of Forms W-4 Reported Electronically/Magnetically (Continuation), if you submit data for multiple employers. These forms must be mailed or faxed the same day electronic files are submitted.

  2. Your media (diskette or cartridge) with an external identifying label. Notice 1027 describes the information which should be included on this self-prepared label.

  3. On the outside of the shipping container, affix the label IRB Special Projects.

.06 IRS/ECC-MTB will not return filers’ magnetic media after it has been successfully processed. Should filers wish to know if their media was received by IRS/ECC-MTB, a delivery service that provides certification of delivery is recommended.

.07 IRS cannot accept any Collect-On-Delivery (COD) or Charged-to-IRS shipments of reportable tax information that an individual or organization is legally required to file. Because of the high volume of data received and shipping cost involved, special shipping containers will not be returned.

Sec. 7. Replacement Files

THE ELECTRONIC/MAGNETIC MEDIA SPECIFICATIONS CONTAINED IN PART B AND C OF THIS REVENUE PROCEDURE MUST BE STRICTLY ADHERED TO. If ECC-MTB cannot process your files, we will request replacement files. Replacement files must be submitted to IRS/ECC-MTB within 45 days of the date of the enclosed letter. The media should be identified as replacement data by writing, typing or printing “Magnetic Media Replacement” on the external label of the magnetic media and marking the replacement box on the Form 6466. If filing electronically, you should choose replacement when asked for the type of submission to identify a replacement file before transmission begins.

Sec. 8. State Abbreviations

.01 The following state and U.S. territory abbreviations are to be used when developing the state code portion of address fields.

State Code State Code State Code
Alabama AL Kentucky KY No. Mariana Islands MP
Alaska AK Louisiana LA Ohio OH
American Samoa AS Maine ME Oklahoma OK
Arizona AZ Marshall Islands MH Oregon OR
Arkansas AR Maryland MD Pennsylvania PA
California CA Massachusetts MA Puerto Rico PR
Colorado CO Michigan MI Rhode Island RI
Connecticut CT Minnesota MN South Carolina SC
Delaware DE Mississippi MS South Dakota SD
District of Columbia DC Missouri MO Tennessee TN
Federated States of Micronesia FM Montana MT Texas TX
Florida FL Nebraska NE Utah UT
Georgia GA Nevada NV Vermont VT
Guam GU New Hampshire NH Virginia VA
Hawaii HI New Jersey NJ (U.S.) Virgin Islands VI
Idaho ID New Mexico NM Washington WA
Illinois IL New York NY West Virginia WV
Indiana IN North Carolina NC Wisconsin WI
Iowa IA North Dakota ND Wyoming WY
Kansas KS        

.02 Filers must adhere to the city, state, and ZIP Code format for U.S. addresses. This also includes American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U. S. Virgin Islands.

Sec. 9. Definition of Terms

Term Definition
Employer Generally, an employer is a person or organization for whom a worker performs a service as an employee. The employer has the right to direct and control the worker. A person or organization paying wages to a former employee after the work ends is also considered an employer.
Employee One who performs services for an employer.
EIN Employer Identification Number that has been assigned to the employer by IRS.
File For purposes of this procedure, a file consists of all electronic/magnetic records submitted by an employer or transmitter.
Special Character Any character that is not a numeric, an alpha or a blank.
Social Security Number (SSN) Social Security Number (SSN) that has been assigned to the employee by the Social Security Administration.
Transmitter Person or organization preparing and/or submitting electronic/magnetic file(s).
Transmitter Control Code (TCC) A five-character alpha/numeric number assigned by IRS to the transmitter prior to actual filing electronically/magnetically. This number is inserted in Positions 319-323 of your files and must be present before the file can be processed. An application Form 4419 must be filed with IRS to receive this number.

PART B. ELECTRONIC FILING SPECIFICATIONS

Note

Note: The FIRE System is now on the Internet at http://fire.irs.gov. It is no longer a dial-up connection.

Sec. 1. General

.01 Electronic filing of Forms W-4 information returns, originals and replacements, is offered as an alternative to magnetic media (tape cartridge or diskette) or paper filing. If the original file was sent magnetically, but IRS/ECC-MTB has requested a replacement file, the replacement may be transmitted electronically. Also, if the original file was submitted via magnetic media, any corrections may be transmitted electronically.

.02 All electronic filing of information returns are received at IRS/ECC-MTB via the FIRE (Filing Information Returns Electronically) System. To connect to the FIRE System, point your browser to http://fire.irs.gov. The system is designed to support the electronic filing of information returns only.

.03 The electronic filing of information returns is not affiliated with any other IRS electronic filing programs. Filers must obtain separate approval to participate in each of them. Only inquiries concerning electronic filing of information returns should be directed to IRS/ECC-MTB.

.04 Files submitted to IRS/ECC-MTB electronically must be in standard ASCII code. Do not send magnetic media or paper forms with the same information as electronically submitted files. This would create duplicate reporting.

.05 The record format is the same for both electronically or magnetically filed records. See Part C, Magnetic Media Specifications.

Sec. 2. Advantages of Filing Electronically

Some of the advantages of filing electronically are:

  1. Security - Secure Socket Layer (SSL) 128-bit encryption.

  2. Results available within 20 business days regarding the acceptability of the data transmitted. It is the filer’s responsibility to log into the system and check results.

  3. Better customer service due to on-line availability of transmitter’s files for research purposes.

Sec. 3. Electronic Filing Approval Procedure

.01 Filers must obtain a Transmitter Control Code (TCC) prior to submitting files electronically. Filers who currently have a TCC for magnetic media filing for Form W-4 may use their assigned TCC for electronic filing. Refer to Part A, Sec. 5, for information on how to obtain a TCC.

.02 Once a TCC is obtained, electronic filers assign their own user ID, password and PIN (Personal Identification Number) and do not need prior or special approval. See Part B, Sec. 5, for more information on the PIN.

.03 If a filer is submitting files for more than one TCC, it is not necessary to create a separate logon and password for each TCC.

.04 For all passwords, it is the user’s responsibility to remember the password and not allow the password to be compromised. Passwords are user assigned at first logon and must be 8 alpha/numerics containing at least 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, and 1 numeric. However, filers who forget their password or PIN, can call toll-free 1-866-455-7438 for assistance. The FIRE System may require users to change their passwords on a yearly basis.

Sec. 4. Electronic Submissions

.01 Electronically filed information may be submitted to IRS/ECC-MTB 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Technical assistance will be available Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern time by calling toll-free 1-866-455-7438.

.02 The FIRE System will be down from December 23, 2005 through January 3, 2006. This allows IRS/ECC-MTB to update its system to reflect current year changes.

.03 If you are sending files larger than 10,000 records electronically, data compression is encouraged. If you are considering sending files larger than 5 million records, please contact IRS/ECC-MTB for specifics. WinZip and PKZip are the only acceptable compression packages. IRS/ECC-MTB cannot accept self-extracting zip files or compressed files containing multiple files. The time required to transmit information returns electronically will vary depending upon the type of connection to the internet and if data compression is used. The time required to transmit a file can be reduced by as much as 95 percent by using compression.

.04 Transmitters may create files using self assigned files name(s). Files submitted electronically will be assigned a new unique file name by the FIRE System. The filename assigned by the FIRE System will consist of submission type (ORIG [original], CORR [correction], and REPL [replacement]), the filer’s TCC and a four digit number sequence. The sequence number will be incremented for every file sent. For example, if it is your first original file for the calendar year and your TCC is 44444, the IRS assigned filename would be ORIG.44444.0001. Record the filename. This information will be needed by ECC-MTB to identify the file, if assistance is required.

.05 If a file was transmitted timely and is bad, the filer will have up to 60 days from the day the file was sent to transmit an acceptable file. This only applies to files originally submitted electronically.

.06 The following definitions have been provided to help distinguish between a correction and a replacement:

  • A correction is an information return submitted by the transmitter to correct an information return that was previously submitted to and successfully processed by IRS/ECC-MTB, but contained erroneous information. (See Note.)

Note

Note: Corrections should only be made to forms that have been submitted incorrectly, not the entire file.

  • A replacement is an information return file sent by the filer because the CHECK FILE STATUS option on the FIRE System indicated the original file was bad. After the necessary changes have been made, the file must be transmitted through the FIRE System. (See Note.)

Note

Note: Filers should never transmit anything to IRS/ECC-MTB as a “Replacement” file unless the CHECK FILE STATUS option on the FIRE System indicates the file is bad.

.07 The TCC in the Transmitter “T” Record must be the TCC used to transmit the file; otherwise, the file will be considered an error.

Sec. 5. PIN Requirements

.01 Filers will be prompted to create a PIN consisting of 10 numeric characters when establishing their initial logon name and password.

.02 The PIN is required each time an ORIGINAL, CORRECTION, or REPLACEMENT file is sent electronically and is permission to release the file. It is not needed for a TEST file. An authorized agent may enter their PIN, however, the payer is responsible for the accuracy of the returns. If you forget your PIN, please call toll-free 1-866-455-7438 for assistance.

Sec. 6. Electronic Filing Specifications

.01 The FIRE System is designed exclusively for the filing of Forms 1042-S, 1098, 1099, 5498, 8027, W-2G and W-4.

.02 A transmitter must have a TCC (see Part A, Sec. 5) before a file can be transmitted. A TCC assigned for magnetic media filing of Forms W-4 should also be used for electronic filing.

.03 The results of the electronic transmission will be available in the CHECK FILE STATUS area of the FIRE System within 20 business days. It is the filer’s responsibility to verify the acceptability of files submitted by selecting the CHECK FILE STATUS option.

Sec. 7. Connecting to the FIRE System

.01 Point your browser to http://fire.irs.gov to connect to the FIRE System.

.02 When running Norton Internet Security or similar software, you may need to disable this feature if your file transfer does not complete properly.

.03 Before connecting, have your TCC and EIN available.

.04 Your browser must support SSL 128-bit encryption.

.05 Your browser must be set to receive “cookies”. Cookies are used to preserve your User ID status.

First time connection to The FIRE System (If you have logged on previously, skip to Subsequent Connections to the FIRE System.)
    Click “Create New Account”.
    Fill out the registration form and click “Submit” .
    Enter your User ID (most users logon with their first and last name).
    Enter and verify your password (the password is user assigned and must be 8 alpha/numerics, containing at least 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase and 1 numeric). FIRE may require you to change the password once a year.
    Click “Create”.
    If you receive the message “Account Created”, click “OK”.
    Enter and verify your 10-digit self-assigned PIN (Personal Identification Number).
    Click “Submit”.
    If you receive the message “Your PIN has been successfully created!”, click “OK”.
    Read the bulletin(s) and/or click “Start the FIRE application”.
Subsequent connections to The FIRE System
       
    Click “Log On”.
    Enter your User ID (most users logon with their first and last name).
    Enter your password (the password is user assigned and is case sensitive).
Uploading your file to the FIRE System
    At Menu Options:
      Click “Send Information Returns”
      Enter your TCC:
      Enter your EIN:
      Click “Submit”.
       
    The system will then display the company name, address, city, state, ZIP code, phone number, contact and email address. This information will be used to contact or send correspondence (if necessary) regarding this transmission. Update as appropriate and/or Click “Accept” .
       
    Click one of the following:
      Original File
      Correction File
      Replacement File (if you select this option, select one of the following):
       
      NEW FIRE Replacement (file was originally transmitted on this system)
      Click the file to be replaced.
       
      Magnetic Media Replacement
      Enter the alpha character from Form 9267, Media Tracking Slip, that was sent with the request for replacement file. Click “Submit” .
     
    Enter your 10-digit PIN.
    Click “Submit”.
    Click “Browse” to locate the file and open it.
    Click “Upload”.
       
When the upload is complete, the screen will display the total bytes received and tell you the name of the file you just uploaded.
       
    If you have more files to upload for that TCC:
      Click “File Another?”; otherwise,
      Click “Main Menu”.
It is your responsibility to check the acceptability of your file; therefore, be sure to check back into the system in 20 business days using the CHECK FILE STATUS option.
Checking your FILE STATUS
    At the Main Menu:
      Click “Check File Status”.
      Enter your TCC:
      Enter your EIN:
      Click “Search”.
       
    If “Results” indicate:
      “Good” — File has been released to our mainline processing.
      “Bad” — Correct the errors and timely resubmit the file as a “replacement”.
      “Not yet processed” — File has been received, but we do not have results available yet. Please check back in a few days.
    Click on the desired file for a detailed report of your transmission.
    When you are finished, click on Main Menu.
      Click “Log Out”.
      Close your Web Browser.

Sec. 8. Common Problems and Questions Associated with Electronic Filing

.01 The following are the major errors associated with electronic filing:

NON-FORMAT ERRORS

 

1.Transmitter does not check the FIRE System to determine file acceptability.
 
The results of your file transfer are posted to the FIRE System within 20 business days. It is your responsibility to verify file acceptability and, if the file contains errors, you can get an online listing of the errors. Date received and number of payee records are also displayed.
2.Incorrect file is not replaced timely.
 
If your file is bad, correct the file and timely resubmit as a replacement.
3.Transmitter compresses several files into one.
 
Only compress one file at a time. For example, if you have 10 uncompressed files to send, compress each file separately and send 10 separate compressed files.
4.Transmitter sends a file and CHECK FILE STATUS indicates that the file is good, but the transmitter wants to send a replacement or correction file to replace the original/correction/replacement file.
 
Once a file has been transmitted, you cannot send a replacement file unless CHECK FILE STATUS indicates the file is bad (20 business days after file was transmitted). If you do not want us to process the file, you must first contact us toll-free 1-866-455-7438 to see if this is a possibility.
5.Transmitter sends an original file that is good, and then sends a correction file for the entire file even though there are only a few changes.
 
The correction file, containing the proper coding, should only contain the records needing correction, not the entire file.
6.File is formatted as EBCDIC.
 
All files submitted electronically must be in standard ASCII code.
7.Transmitter has one TCC number, but is filing for multiple companies, which EIN should be used when logging into the system to send the file?
 
When sending the file electronically, you will need to enter the EIN of the company assigned to the TCC. When you upload the file, it will contain the EINs for the other companies that you are filing for. This is the information that will be passed forward.
8.Transmitter sent the wrong file, what should be done?
 
Call us as soon as possible toll-free 1-866-455-7438. We may be able to stop the file before it has been processed. Please do not send a replacement for a file that is marked as a good file.

PART C. MAGNETIC MEDIA SPECIFICATIONS

Sec. 1. General

.01 The specifications contained in this part of the revenue procedure define the required format and content of the records to be included in the electronic/magnetic file.

.02 An external label must appear on each tape cartridge and diskette submitted. Notice 1027 details what information must be on the label. The diskettes used must be MS/DOS compatible.

Sec. 2. Tape Cartridge Specifications

.01 In most instances, IRS/ECC-MTB can process tape cartridges that meet the following specifications:

  1. Must be IBM 3480, 3490, 3490E, 3590, or 3590E.

  2. Must meet American National Standard Institute (ANSI) standards, and have the following characteristics:

    1. Tape cartridges will be 1/2-inch tape contained in plastic cartridges which are approximately 4-inches by 5-inches by 1-inch in dimension.

    2. Magnetic tape will be chromium dioxide particle based 1/2-inch tape.

    3. Cartridges must be 18-track, 36-track, 128-track or 256-track parallel (See Note).

    4. Cartridges will contain 37,871 CPI (characters per inch ) or 3590 CPI.

    5. Mode will be full function.

    6. The data may be compressed using EDRC (Memorex) or IDRC (IBM) compression.

    7. Either EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code) or ASCII (American Standard Coded Information Interchange) may be used.

.02 The tape cartridge records defined in this revenue procedure may be blocked subject to the following:

  1. A block must not exceed 32,550 tape positions.

  2. If the use of blocked records would result in a short block, all remaining positions of the block must be filled with 9s; however, the last block of the file may be filled with 9s or truncated. Do not pad a block with blanks.

  3. All records, except the header and trailer labels, may be blocked or unblocked. A record may not contain any control fields or block descriptor fields which describe the length of the block or the logical records within the block. The number of logical records within a block (the blocking factor) must be constant in every block with the exception of the last block which may be shorter (see item (b) above). The block length must be evenly divisible by 350.

  4. Records may not span blocks.

.03 Tape cartridges may be labeled or unlabeled.

.04 For the purposes of this revenue procedure, the following must be used:

Tape Mark:

  1. Used to signify the physical end of the recording on tape.

  2. For even parity, use BCD configuration 001111(8421).

  3. May follow the header label and precede and/or follow the trailer label.

Note

Note: Filers should indicate on the external media label and transmittal Form 6466 whether the cartridge is 18-track, 36-track, 128-track or 256-track.

Sec. 3. Record Format Specifications and Record Layout

.01 This record is used to identify the employer, the employee, number of allowances, and other information that is reported on the paper Form W-4.

.02 ALL RECORDS MUST BE A FIXED LENGTH OF 350 POSITIONS.

.03 Do not begin any record at the end of a block or diskette and continue the same record into the next block or diskette.

Form W-4 Record Format
Field
Position
  Field Title Length Description and Remarks
1-9   Employee Social Security Number (SSN) 9 Required. Enter the nine-digit SSN assigned to the employee. DO NOT ENTER HYPHENS OR ALPHA CHARACTERS. All zeroes, ones, twos, etc., will have the effect of an incorrect TIN.
10-44   Employee Name Line 1 35 Required. Enter the name of the employee whose TIN appears in field positions 1-9. Enter the name in the following order: first name, middle name (if present), and surname. (Use initials for the first and middle names where necessary to insure that the entire employee surname fits in the field.) If fewer than 35 characters are used, left-justify and fill unused positions with blanks.
          (1) A blank must be surrounded by alphas or continued to the end of the field (e.g., ab...b, aba).
          (2) A hyphen in the first position is to identify an employee with surname only. Hyphens must be surrounded by alphas or numerics and must never occur in the first position of a name unless immediately followed by a caret.
          (3) A caret is used to define an internal name control. It must immediately precede the employee surname in place of the blank. A second caret is used to separate a suffix from the surname (e.g., JOHN J.<BLACK; BILL<OAK<JR; AMY FERN<BROWN< MD ).
Note: The only allowable characters are alphas, blanks, numerics, ampersands, hyphens, and slashes. A minimum of one and a maximum of two carets (<) can be used. Punctuation, such as periods and commas, are not allowed and will cause your file to be returned.
45-79   Employee Name Line 2 35 Optional. This line is designated for an “in care of” (c/o) situation. Left-justify and fill unused positions with blanks. Hyphens and slashes must be surrounded by alphas or numerics; ampersands must be surrounded by blanks; blanks must be surrounded by alphas or numerics or continued to the end of the field (e.g., ab...b, aba).
Note: The same exceptions apply as set forth in “Employee Name Line 1”, also the use of a percent sign (%) is not valid, use c/o if necessary.
80-114   Employee Street Address 35 Required. Enter mailing address of employee. Street address should include number, street, apartment or suite number (or P. O. Box if mail is not delivered to street address). Left-justify and fill unused positions with blanks. Position 80 must be an alpha or numeric; hyphens and slashes must be surrounded by alphas or numerics; ampersands must be surrounded by blanks; blanks must be surrounded by alphas or numerics or continued to the end of the field (e.g., ab...b, aba).
Note: The only allowable characters are alphas, blanks, numerics, ampersands, hyphens and slashes. Punctuation, such as periods and commas, are not allowed and will cause your file to be returned. For example, the address 210 N. Queen St., Suite #300 must be entered as 210 N Queen St Suite 300.
115-139   Employee City 25 Required. Enter the city, town, or post office. If a foreign address, see Note 2. Left-justify and fill unused positions with blanks. Enter APO or FPO, if applicable. Do not enter state and ZIP Code information in this field. Position 115 must be an alpha or numeric; hyphens must be surrounded by alphas or numerics; blanks must be surrounded by alphas or numerics or continued to the end of the field (e.g., ab...b, aba).
Note 1: The only allowable characters are alphas, blanks, numerics, ampersands, hyphens, and slashes. Punctuation, such as periods and commas, are not allowed and will cause your file to be returned. For example, the city St. Louis must be entered as St Louis.
Note 2: For foreign addresses, you may use the 25 position Employee City field to provide the following information: city and country name.
140-141   Employee State 2 Required. Enter the valid U.S. Postal state abbreviation. Refer to Part A, Sec. 8.
Note: For foreign addresses, enter XX in this field.
142-150   Employee ZIP Code 9 Required. Enter the valid nine-digit ZIP Code of employee. IF YOU ONLY HAVE FIVE-DIGITS AVAILABLE, LEFT-JUSTIFY AND ZERO FILL. Blank fill only if the employee’s ZIP Code is not available.
151   Marital Status 1 Required. Enter appropriate code from the table below:
        Marital Status Designated   Code
        Single   S
        Married   M
        Married, withhold at single rate   W
        No marital status designated   A
152   Exempt Status 1 Required. Enter “E” if employee claims exempt

status; otherwise, enter blank.
153   Blank 1 Enter Blank.
154-156   Allowances 3 Required. Must be a three-digit numeric field corresponding to the number of allowances claimed by employee. Field must be right-justified and zero filled. If no entry, or employee claimed exempt status, enter blanks.
157-163   Additional Amount 7 Required. Enter any additional amount of withholding the employee wants deducted from each pay. Amount must be entered in U.S. dollars and cents. The right-most two positions represent cents. Do not enter dollar signs, commas, decimal points, or negative numbers. Right-justify and zero fill. If no entry, zero fill.
164-169   Blank 6 Enter Blanks.
170-178   Employer Identification Number 9 Required. Enter the nine-digit EIN assigned to the employer. DO NOT ENTER HYPHENS, or ALPHA CHARACTERS. All zeroes, ones, twos, etc., will have the effect of an incorrect TIN.
179-213   Employer Name Line 1 35 Required. Enter the name of the employer as it appears on employment tax forms (e.g., Form 941). Any extraneous information must be deleted from this name line. Left-justify and fill with blanks. Position 179 must be alpha or numeric; hyphens and slashes must be surrounded by alphas or numerics; blanks must be surrounded by alphas or numerics or continued to the end of the field (e.g., ab...b, aba).
Note: The only allowable characters are alphas, blanks, numerics, ampersands, hyphens, and slashes. Punctuation, such as periods and commas, are not allowed and will cause your file to be returned.
214-247   Employer Name Line 2 34 If the employer name requires more space than is available in Employer Name Line 1, enter the remaining portion of the name in this field. Left-justify and fill with blanks. Position 214 must be alpha or numeric; hyphens must be surrounded by alphas or numerics; blanks must be surrounded by alphas or numerics or continued to the end of the field (e.g., ab...b, aba).
Note: The same exceptions apply as set forth in “Employer Name Line 1”, also the use of a percent sign (%) is not valid, use c/o if necessary.
248-282   Employer Street 35 Required. Enter mailing address of employer. Street address should include number, street, apartment, or suite number (or P. O. Box if mail is not delivered to street address). Left-justify and fill unused positions with blanks. Position 248 must be alpha or numeric; hyphens must be surrounded by alphas or numerics or continued to the end of the field (e.g., ab...b, aba).
Note: The only allowable characters are alphas, blanks, numerics, ampersands, hyphens and slashes. Punctuation, such as periods and commas, are not allowed and will cause your file to be returned. For example, the address 210 N. Queen St., Suite #300 must be entered as 210 N Queen St Suite 300.
283-307   Employer City 25 Required. Enter the city, town or post office. Enter APO or FPO if applicable. Do not enter state and ZIP Code information in this field. Position 283 must be alpha or numeric; hyphens must be surrounded by alphas or numerics; blanks must be surrounded by alphas or numerics or continued to the end of the field (e.g., ab...b, aba).
Note: The only allowable characters are alphas, blanks, numerics, ampersands, hyphens, and slashes. Punctuation, such as periods and commas, are not allowed and will cause your file to be returned. For example, the city St. Louis must be entered as St Louis.
308-309   Employer State Code 2 Required. Enter the valid U.S. Postal state abbreviation. Refer to Part A, Sec. 8.
310-318   Employer ZIP Code 9 Required. Enter the valid nine-digit ZIP Code of employer. IF YOU ONLY HAVE FIVE-DIGITS AVAILABLE, LEFT-JUSTIFY AND ZERO FILL. Blank fill only if employer’s ZIP Code is not available.
319-323   Transmitter Control Code 5 Required. Enter five-character alpha/numeric Transmitter Control Code (TCC) assigned by IRS/ECC-MTB.
324-331   Form W-4 Date 8 Required. Enter date located on signature line Form W-4. If no date entered, generate current system date. Format as YYYYMMDD (e.g., 20051231). Exempt Status Form W-4 compare “year effective date” on Line 7 to signature date. If year entered on Line 7 is later than the signature date, use W-4 date as a 01/01 receipt for subsequent calendar year (e.g., Line 7 of Form W-4 shows an exempt status date of 2005 but signature date is 20041031, use 20050101 as Form W-4 date.)
332-348   Blank 17 Enter Blanks.
349-350   Blank 2 Enter blanks, or carriage return/line.

FORM W-4 RECORD LAYOUT
Employee Social Security Number Employee Name Line 1 Employee Name Line 2 Employee Street Address Employee City
1-9 10-44 45-79 80-114 115-139
Employee State Employee ZIP Code Marital Status Exempt Status BLANK Allowances
140-141 142-150 151 152 153 154-156
Additional Amount BLANK Employer Identification Number Employer Name Line 1 Employer Name Line 2
157-163 164-169 170-178 179-213 214-247
Employer Street Employer City Employer State Code Employer ZIP Code Transmitter Control Code
248-282 283-307 308-309 310-318 319-323
Form W-4 Date BLANK BLANK or CR/LF
324-331 332-348 349-350

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