Withholding agents or their agents must use electronic media to file 250 or more Forms 1042-S with the IRS. Financial institutions are always required to file Forms 1042-S electronically. Partnerships with a Form 1042-S filing requirement that have more than 100 partners or are required to file at least 150 Forms 1042-S for the year, must file Forms 1042-S electronically. All withholding agents are encouraged to file electronically even if not required to. Even though as many as 249 Forms 1042-S may be submitted on paper to the IRS per year, the IRS encourages filers to transmit forms electronically.
Note: For future years, a partnership will be required to file electronically if it has more than 100 partners or if the total of Forms 1042-S it is required to file is at least 100 for 2020, 50 for 2021, and 20 for tax years after 2021.
Electronic submissions are filed using the Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) System.
The electronic filing requirement applies separately to original and amended returns. The filing requirement applies individually to each reporting entity as defined by its separate taxpayer identification number (TIN).
For example, if you have 300 original Forms 1042-S, they must be filed electronically. However, if you are not a financial institution and 200 of those forms contained erroneous information, the amended returns may be filed on paper forms because the number of amended Forms 1042-S is less than the 250-or-more per year filing requirement. If you are filing 250 or more amended Forms 1042-S, 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 on record, you will be subject to a penalty unless you establish reasonable cause for your failure. The penalty applies separately to original and amended returns.
Note: Refer to the Increase in Information Return Penalties page for the inflation-adjusted penalty amounts.
To request a hardship waiver from the required filing of Forms 1042-S electronically, submit Form 8508, Request for Waiver From Filing Information Returns Electronically (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, Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns, 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.
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
Note: This page contains one or more references to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), Treasury Regulations, court cases, or other official tax guidance. References to these legal authorities are included for the convenience of those who would like to read the technical reference material. To access the applicable IRC sections, Treasury Regulations, or other official tax guidance, visit the Tax Code, Regulations and Official Guidance page. To access any Tax Court case opinions issued after September 24, 1995, visit the Opinions Search page of the United States Tax Court.