Tax Year 2021 Directions for Corporations to e-file



Corporations that are e-filing may use the following approved guidelines to prepare their income tax returns for tax years ending on or after December 31, 2021 without the need for a waiver. These directions are not all inclusive. This is a living document and it will be updated as needed. Updated sections will be identified by the date they were updated.

Corporations should carefully review the permanent directions for electronic filing contained in Publications 4163PDF and 4164PDF.

Corporations required to e-file may elect to use any or all of the following directions.
Corporations that are e-filing may not send paper versions of any forms to be included as part of their return. Additionally, PDF format may ONLY be used for the forms listed in Section 1 below. Any deviation from these temporary directions will require a formal waiver approved by IRS. (Guidance on Waivers for Corporations Unable to Meet e-file Requirements)

Note: Documents accessed from this page that are in PDF format contain (pdf) at the end of the file name. To view PDF documents, download the most recent free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Table of Contents

Section 1 - Forms Allowed as PDF
Section 2 - Mixed Returns (Consolidated Form 1120 with one or more Form 1120-L or Form 1120-PC subsidiary returns)
Section 3 - Information Available on Request
Section 4 - International Forms - PDF or Paper Option
Section 5 - Forms Not Required to be Filed with the Income Tax Return
Section 6 – Compensation of Officers, Form 1120-E

Section 1 - Forms Allowed as PDF

These directions are available to corporations that are e-filing.

Forms Allowed as PDF

The forms listed below may be attached to the XML portion of the electronic return as a PDF file based upon the guidance listed below.

  • Form 1120S Schedule B1 - Information on Certain Shareholders of an S Corporation
  • Form 1128 – Application to Adopt, Change, or Retain a Tax Year
  • Form 2553 – Election by a Small Business Corporation
    • PDF file must be named and described as “Form 2553” (see Filing Requirements for Filing Status Change for additional information)
  • Form 3115 – Application for Change in Accounting Method
    • If filed with return, required in XML
    • If previously filed, allowed as PDF
  • Form 4466 – Corporation Application for Quick Refund of Overpayment of Estimated Tax
    • If filed without signature, required in XML
    • If filed with signature, allowed as PDF
  • Form 8283 – Noncash Charitable Contributions
    • Required as XML unless
      • Filing 10 or more forms OR
      • 3rd party signature is required
  • Form 8716 – Election to Have a Tax Year Other Than a Required Tax Year
    • If filed without signature, required in XML
    • If filed with signature, allowed as PDF
  • Form 8832 – Entity Classification Election
  • If filed with return, required in XML
  • If previously filed, allowed as PDF
  • Form 8838 – Consent to Extend the Time to Assess Tax Under Sec. 367 - Gain Recognition Agreement
    • If filed without 3rd party signatures, required in XML
    • If filed with 3rd party signatures, allowed as PDF

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Section 2 – MIXED RETURNS (Form 1120 Parent with one or more Form 1120-L or Form 1120-PC subsidiaries)

These directions MUST be followed by ALL Mixed Group Corporations that are required to e-file.

A Mixed Return, for purposes of e-filing only, is an 1120 consolidated tax return (which means the parent return is an 1120) and includes at least one subsidiary that is either a Life Insurance Company (Form 1120-L) or a Property and Casualty Insurance Company (Form 1120-PC).

Only 1120 parent Mixed Returns that meet the asset (>= $10 million) and return filing (>= 250 returns) requirements are required to be filed electronically. Form 1120-PC and/or Form 1120-L returns filed as stand-alone returns or as the parent of a consolidated return must be filed in paper.

The Form 1120-L and the Form 1120-PC subsidiary returns are required in XML. The e-filing format mirrors the M-3 requirements and includes subgroups and sub-consolidation returns, when applicable.

Schedule M-3 is required in XML for ALL levels in a Mixed Return. This includes the top consolidation, each entity (parent, subsidiary), and the return subgroup(s) level. Additionally, a Form 8916 will be required for all Mixed Returns. Form 8916-A, Supplemental Attachment to Schedule M-3, is required to be filed for each return (including subsidiary returns) for those entities that report any amounts for Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), Interest Income or Interest Expense on their returns.

Each type of entity is considered a subgroup when they are part of a Mixed Group return. There are three possible subgroups in a Mixed Return:

  • One subgroup reporting for all Forms 1120 (1120 Subgroup)
  • One subgroup reporting for all Forms 1120-L (1120-L Subgroup)
  • And one subgroup reporting for all Forms 1120-PC (1120-PC Subgroup)

A sub-consolidation is the reporting of all income and expense items relative to each subgroup. A sub-consolidation must be present for each subgroup. This is true even if there is only one corporation in a subgroup. Different forms (1120, 1120-L, and 1120-PC) may not be combined in a single subgroup sub-consolidation. In particular, an 1120 parent and an 1120-PC subsidiary must not be combined as a non-life subgroup. The 1120 parent must be in the 1120 subgroup and the 1120-PC subsidiary must be in the 1120-PC subgroup. Form 8916 at the consolidated Schedule M-3 level will provide life-nonlife detail. Form 8916-A, if applicable, is required at each level, including the subgroup and subgroup elimination levels.

To ensure that Mixed Returns where Form 1120 lines 1-29 are blank do not reject because of the IRS' business rules, there should be no forms or statements directly supporting Form 1120 lines 1-29 attached at the consolidated level (e.g. Form 1120 Schedule D, Form 4562, Form 4797, etc.). Instead the applicable forms should be filed at each sub-consolidation level.  These instructions do not apply to information forms, disclosures, elections, and other statements that are included with the consolidated return.  These items (e.g. Forms 5471, 5472, 5713, 8858, 8865, various elections, disclosures, etc.) should still be attached at the top consolidated level.  Any forms or statements that are required to be attached to support any other line items (not lines 1-29), such as, but not limited to, Form 3800, Schedule O, etc., on the consolidated return should be attached at the top consolidated level.

Your software should allow you to select whether you are creating a specific subsidiary return, sub-consolidation return, or eliminations return.  (You should contact your software vendor for specific guidance.) The sub-consolidation return and the eliminations return will not require an EIN.  All of the other entities (subsidiaries or parent) will require either an EIN or Applied For in the Employer Identification Number field.  A subsidiary may not be included in two subgroups. Based on tests in the regulations, a subsidiary is an 1120-L or 1120-PC, or, if neither, an 1120.

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Section 3 - Information Available on Request

These optional directions are available to corporations that are e-filing.

Transactional Data

Transactional data for the following forms may be submitted on a summary form in XML format as defined below. Corporations that use these optional procedures are agreeing that transactional data details will be made available on request.

  • Form T – Forest Activities Schedule
  • Form 4562 – Depreciation and Amortization
  • Form 4797 – Sale of Business Property
  • Form 8824 – Like-Kind Exchanges
  • Form 8873 – Extraterritorial Income Exclusion
  • Schedule D (1120S) – Capital Gains and Losses

Summary format can be used when the underlying transactional data contains more than 100 lines for that particular data type. The summary totals must be reported by data type, classification, or other grouping as required on the form. If there are less than 100 instances of transactions by data type, classification, or other grouping the transactions are required to be itemized.

Transactional Data Summary Formats

A Transactional Data Summary format can only be used when the underlying transactional data includes more than 100 lines for that particular data type by form part (i.e. Schedule D short-term or long-term, Form 4797, Part 1 or Part 2, etc.). Data type can be aggregated across the entity to determine if the 100 lines is met for a particular form. This does not mean that only one summary form will be required, but that once a summary form can be used for a particular data type and form, all of the entities within that return can use that reporting format. For example, if a parent corporation has 50 ST items and the subsidiary has 75 ST items, in aggregate they have 125 ST items and can use the summary reporting format on the Sch D, Part 1 at the subsidiary, the parent and the consolidated level.

Summary format can NOT be used to net gain and loss transactions. If a corporation chooses to use the summary format to report transactional data, gains and losses MUST be summarized and reported separately within each form part.

For example, if a corporation had 500 short term gain transactional items and 2000 short term loss transactional items, use of the Summary Format would require the corporation to report 2 separate totals on Part 1 of the Schedule D or Form 4797 under Short Term Gains and Losses, one for the total of the short term gain items and one for the total of the short term loss items.

Compensation of Officers

See Section 6 below for guidance.

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Section 4 - International Forms

These directions MUST be followed by ALL corporations that e-file.

The following international forms (5471, 5472, 5713, 8858, 8865, and their associated schedules) are required to be submitted in XML and must be attached at the top consolidated return level.

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Section 5 -- Forms not required to be filed with the income tax return

These directions apply to ALL corporations that e-file.

IRS form instructions do not require corporations to attach the following forms to their income tax return and should not include these forms as part of the electronic return. This list is only provided as a reminder and applies to all corporate filers.

  • Form 966 - Corporate Dissolution or Liquidation
  • Form 7004 - Application for Automatic 6-Month Extension of Time To File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns
  • Form 8023 - Elections Under Section 338 for Corporations Making Qualified Stock Purchases 
  • Form 8693 - Low-Income Housing Credit Disposition Bond

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Section 6 - Compensation of Officers, Form 1120-E

These directions are available to corporations that are e-filing.

The detailed information for each officer is required to be completed on Form 1125-E,  new for Tax Year 2011.  This form is required in XML. The social security number on column (b) can be truncated, they may elect to provide only the last four digits of the officer’s SSN. If a consolidated return is filed, each member of an affiliated group must furnish this information.
You should NOT indicate “Information Available on Request.

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