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Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate
Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return
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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 1094/1095 are filed through the Affordable Care Act Information Return (AIR) system.

Who can participate?

Anyone with a FIRE System Transmitter Control Code (TCC) who is required to submit the information returns listed above (except Forms 1094/1095) 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, Listed below are a few benefits of electronic filing:

  • Files are processed faster with fewer errors.

  • FIRE System 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, for automatic 30-day requests only. Requests for an additional 30-days and  1099-MISC Forms W-2 and reporting non-employee compensation in box 7 must be submitted on paper.

How to transmit through FIRE System

To file electronically, you must have software or a service provider that will create the file in the proper format. A scanned or PDF copy will not be accepted. Additionally, a TCC is required to transmit information returns through the FIRE system.

The most efficient way to apply 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. 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 1094/1095) for two consecutive tax years. Once deleted from our database, you will need to submit another Form 4419.

The Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) Production and 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 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”
 
  FIRE Test System Availability
  From: Through:
Down for annual updates December 5, 2018, 6 p.m. ET January 2, 2019
Available November 5, 2018 December 5, 2018, 6 p.m. ET
Available January 2, 2019 Date to be determined this page will be updated when available.
Note: The FIRE Systems (Production and Test) may be down every Wednesday from 2 a.m. ET to 5 a.m. ET for programming updates.

 

FIRE Production System Availability
  From: Through:
Down for annual updates December 5, 2018, 6 p.m. ET January 7, 2019
Controlled launch January 8, 2019, 8 a.m. ET January 10, 2019, 4 p.m. ET
Available January 10, 2019 Available 24 hours a day until end of year updates. Date to be determined and will be available on the FIRE webpage.

Forgotten or Lost Password and Secret Phrase

A secret phrase will be required for all FIRE System accounts. FIRE System users will use this new feature to reset a lost or forgotten password on FIRE Production and Test.

First time FIRE System account user: If you are establishing an account on FIRE for the first time you will create two separate accounts. One for FIRE Production and one for FIRE Test.

During this process  you will be prompted to create a user ID, password and secret phrase. The secret phrase gives the user the ability to reset a lost or forgotten password.

Established FIRE System account: If you already have FIRE accounts created, you will be required to create a secret phrase after login with your established user ID and password.

Resetting your password - If you have a FIRE account for Test and Production with an established secret phrase and forgot your password, you should reset your password by using your established secret phrase.

Additional information can be found in these resources:

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 Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE)
Monday through Friday 8:30am – 5:30pm EST

  • 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 tab on IRS.gov for help with many tax issues.

 

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