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. The Taxpayer First Act of 2019, enacted July 1, 2019, authorized Treasury and the IRS to issue regulations that reduce the 250-return requirement for 2021 tax-year returns. If those regulations are issued and if they are effective for 2021 tax-year returns required to be filed in 2022, we will post an article at explaining the change.  Until regulations are issued, however, the number remains at 250.  

What are the benefits of electronic filing?

Some of the benefits of electronically filing your Information Returns through the FIRE System are listed below:

  • 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.  Refer to Publication 1220 PDF or CF/SF State Coordinator Frequently Asked Questions.

  • Fill-in Forms are available for:

    • Form 4419, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE)

    • Form 8809, Extension of Time to File Information Returns - Automatic 30-day requests only.
      Note:  Requests for 30-day extension of time for Forms W-2 and 1099-NEC must be submitted on paper Form 8809. 

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 Transmitter Control Code (TCC) is required to transmit information returns through the FIRE System.

As of October 1, 2019, Form 4419 is mandated to be electronically filed when requesting an original TCC. Submit an online Fill-in Form 4419 located within the FIRE System at Submit Form 4419 by November 1, 2020 to ensure you are ready to electronically file in Tax year 2021. Forms 4419 received after November 1st may not be processed in time to meet your electronic filing needs.  Allow 45 days for processing.

Only submit a paper Form 4419 when you have an existing Transmitter Control Code (TCC) to:

  • Revise current TCC information.
  • Request an additional TCC for form type listed on Form 4419 Block 8.

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 1.2 and select “Apply”
  FIRE Test System Availability
  From: Through:
Unavailable during Annual updates October 26, 2020,
6 p.m. ET
November 2, 2020
December 4, 2020,
6 p.m. ET
January 4, 2021,
8 a.m. ET
Available November 3, 2020 December 4, 2020,
6 p.m. ET
Available January 4, 2021,
8 a.m. ET
Available 24 hours a day until end of year updates. Dates to be determined.

Note: The FIRE Production System may be down for maintenance every Sunday and Wednesday from 2 a.m. ET to 5 a.m. ET. Updates to the FIRE Test System will be announced on the FIRE Test System and FIRE webpages.

FIRE Production System Availability
  From: Through:
Unavailable during Annual updates December 4, 2020,
6 p.m. ET
January 5, 2021,
6 a.m. ET
Controlled Launch January 6, 2021,
8 a.m. ET
January 8, 2021,
12 p.m. ET
Available January 8, 2021,
12 p.m. ET

Available 24 hours a day until end of year updates. Dates to be determined.

Forgotten or Lost Password and Secret Phrase

FIRE accounts require the user to establish a secret phrase to assist in resetting passwords for FIRE Systems (Production and Test). 

You will be prompted to create the secret phrase at the same time you create your User ID, Password, and valid 10-digit PIN. If you already have a FIRE System account (Production and Test) but don’t have a secret phrase, you will be prompted to create one the first time you log into the system. If you fail to establish a valid secret phrase, you will receive continual prompts until you do.

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

The Technical Services Operation (TSO) is available to payers, transmitters, and employers at the numbers listed below. When you call you will be provided guidance to essential elements pertaining to technical aspects for electronic filing through the FIRE Systems, self-help resources, and referrals to tax law topics on Below are some examples of essential elements:

  • Form identification 
  • How to obtain a form
  • Provide related publications for a form or topic 
  • FIRE File status information and guidance

Contact Technical Services Operation (TSO)

Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. EST

Assistance with individual taxpayer accounts, account related issues, or tax law cannot be provided on the numbers listed above. Click the Help link on for help with many tax issues.


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