First-time electronic filers are encouraged (but are not required) to submit a test file. However, a test file is required when applying to participate in the Combined Federal/State Filing Program.
Through the Combined Federal/State Filing (CF/SF) Program, the Internal Revenue Service, Information Returns Branch (IRS/IRB) will forward original and corrected information returns filed electronically to participating states free of charge for approved filers. Separate reporting to those states is not required. The information returns that may be filed under the Combined Federal/State Filing Program are:
- Form 1099-DIV Dividends and Distributions
- Form 1099-G Certain Government Payments
- Form 1099-INT Interest Income
- Form 1099-MISC Miscellaneous Income
- Form 1099-OID Original Issue Discount
- Form 1099-PATR Taxable Distributions Received From Cooperatives
- Form 1099-R Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement
- Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc., and
- Form 5498 IRA Contribution Information
A test file, properly coded for the program, must be submitted in order to participate in the Combined Federal/State Filing Program. The test file may be submitted from November 1 through February 15. Although a test file is only required for the first year, it is highly recommended that a test file be sent every year. Combined Federal/State records must be coded using the two-digit codes assigned to the participating states from the table in Publication 1220 (PDF), Specifications for Filing Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8935, and W-2G Electronically. If the Combined Federal/State test file is acceptable, the IRS will send the filer a letter of approval.
Form 4419 (PDF), Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE), must be filed no later than 45 days before the due date of the information returns. The IRS/IRB will issue a Transmitter Control Code (TCC). The TCC is required on all files and correspondence.
For further information, refer to Publication 1220 (PDF), Specifications for Filing Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8935, and W-2G Electronically, or contact the IRS/IRB Customer Service Section by calling toll-free at 866-455-7438, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, or by using the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) at 304-579-4827 (not toll-free).
IRS forms and publications may be downloaded from the IRS website at www.irs.gov, or ordered by calling toll-free at 800-829-3676.
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: February 11, 2014