Withholding agents or their agents must use electronic media to file 250 or more Forms 1042-S with the IRS. You are encouraged to file electronically even if you are not required to. Even though as many as 249 Forms 1042-S may be submitted on paper to the IRS, the IRS encourages filers to transmit forms electronically.
Electronic submissions are filed using the Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) System.
The electronic filing requirement applies separately to originals and corrections. Any person, including a corporation, partnership, individual, estate, and trust, that is required to file 250 or more Forms 1042-S must file such returns electronically. The filing requirement applies individually to each reporting entity as defined by its separate taxpayer identification number (TIN). This requirement applies separately to original and corrected returns.
For example, if you have 300 original Forms 1042-S, they must be filed electronically. However, if 200 of those forms contained erroneous information, the corrections may be filed on paper forms because the number of corrected Forms 1042-S is less than the 250-or-more filing requirement. If you are filing 250 or more Form 1042-S corrections, they must be filed electronically.
Caution! If you file electronically, do not file the same returns on paper. Duplicate filing may cause penalty notices to be generated.
Failure to File Electronically
If you are required to file Form 1042-S electronically but you fail to do so, and you do not have an approved waiver, you may be subject to a penalty of $100 per form unless you show reasonable cause. The penalty applies separately to original and corrected returns.
Note: On June 29, 2015, the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-27) increased the penalty amounts for failures to file information returns and furnish payee statements. Revenue Procedure 2016-11, 2016-2 I.R.B 274, provides inflation-adjusted amounts for the increased penalty amounts. The new amounts apply to returns and statements required to be filed after December 31, 2015.
To receive a hardship waiver from the required filing of Forms 1042-S electronically, submit Form 8508 (PDF). Waiver requests should be filed at least 45 days before the due date of the returns. See Form 8508 for more information.
For Assistance with Electronic Filing:
For additional information and instructions on filing Forms 1042-S electronically, extensions of time to file Form 8809, and Hardship Waivers (Form 8508), see Publication 1187, Specifications for Electronic Filing of Form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding.
You may also call the Information Reporting Program at 866-455-7438 (toll-free) or 304-263-8700 (not a toll-free number) Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The Information Reporting Program may also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org by FAX at 304-264-5602 (not a toll-free number).
For Assistance with Tax Law Questions
For assistance with tax law questions concerning withholding of tax on payments of U.S. sourced income to foreign persons under Chapter 3 of the Internal Revenue Code, you may call 1-267-941-1000 (not a toll-free number) from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern time or write to:
Internal Revenue Service
Philadelphia, PA 19255-0725