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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. Forms 1095 are filed through the Affordable Care Act  Information Return (AIR) system.

Who can participate?

Anyone with a FIRE Transmitter Control Code (TCC) who is required to submit the information returns listed above (except Forms 1095) can file electronically through FIRE.  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 FIRE system, your files are processed faster with fewer errors. Listed below are a few benefits of electronic filing

  • FIRE can accept multiple files for the same type of return.
  • Combined Federal/State Filing Program (CF/SF) is 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

In order to file electronically, you must have software or a service provider that will create the file in the proper format. Additionally, a 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 home page. You may also go to Forms and Pubs and select the paper version of Form 4419, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE). Be sure to submit your application at least 45 days prior to the due date of your information returns.

Your FIRE TCC will be deleted if you don’t file any of the above information returns (except Form 1095) for two consecutive tax years.  Once deleted from our database, you will need to submit another Form 4419, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE).

ALERT! The FIRE system will not be available from 8 p.m. (EST) May 28, 2016, through May 31, 2016,  5 a.m. (EST) due to a planned maintenance power outage. Please be aware of the May 31st due date for Form 5498 series and consider filing prior to May 28, 2016.

ALERT! As of Monday, February 22, 2016, the Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) Test System server no longer supports Secure Socket Layer (SSL) 3.0 as one of the FIRE System’s Internet Security Technical Standards. Transmitters using IE 6.0 or lower as their browser may have problems logging in and connecting to the FIRE System. Follow the steps below to connect and upload a test file:

  • Go to Tools>Internet Options>Advanced
  • Scroll down and find Security
  • Uncheck both SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0
  • Check TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, TLS 1.2 and select “Apply”

The FIRE Production System will also remove the SSL 3.0 in the near future. The date will be announced on the Payroll Industry call and posted on the FIRE website.

ALERT! On December 28, 2015, in Notice 2016-04, the  IRS extended the information reporting due dates for insurers, self-insuring employers, other health coverage providers and applicable large employers.

The notice extends the dates furnishing individual taxpayers with their 2015 Form 1095-B and 2015 Form 1095-C from February 1, 2016, to March 31, 2016. The IRS also extended the due dates for filing with  2015 Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C, and 1095-C from February 29, 2016, to May 31, 2016, if not filing electronically, and from March 31, 2016, to June 30, 2016, if filing electronically through the ACA Information Reporting (AIR) program. These extensions apply automatically to all health coverage information return issuers and are longer than the 30-day extensions that would otherwise be obtained by submitting Form 8809 , Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns. Therefore, the IRS will not process any previously requested extensions of these deadlines for 2016. The longer automatic extensions do not require a formal request using Form 8809 or other documentation. The IRS does not anticipate additional extensions

ALERT!  Form 4419, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) [Rev. 6-2015] posted to www.irs.gov/Forms-&-Pubs with the following updates:

  • Added checkbox to indicate a Revised Form 4419 and a box to provide the current Transmitter Control Code (TCC).
  • Box 8 – Added checkbox to confirm applicant has read the affidavit and is authorized to sign the document on behalf of the transmitter and/or payer. Instructions – Added information to revise current TCC information.
  • Box 8 – Removed questions pertaining to the use of software or a software provider.  Note:  In order to file electronically, you must have software or a service provider that will create the file in the proper format.

        Refer to Form 4419 Instructions for more information.

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. 

 

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

  • Located at https://fire.test.irs.gov
  • Available from Nov. 2, 2015, through March 18, 2016, 5 p.m. (EST).
  • System may be down every Wednesday from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. (EST) for programming updates.

FIRE Production System - Available for electronic submissions

  • Located at https://fire.irs.gov
  • Available 24 hours a day
  • The system may be down every Wednesday from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.(EST) for programming updates.

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).

Assistance with individual taxpayer returns or account related issues cannot be provided on the numbers listed above.  Click on the Help & Resources tab on IRS.gov for help with many tax issues.

 

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 30-Mar-2016