Withholding agents or their agents must use electronic media to file 250 or more Forms 1042-S with the IRS. Financial institutions are required to 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, 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! Whether you file electronically or on paper, do not file duplicates of information returns that you are not amending. Duplicate filing may cause penalty assessments.
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 will be subject to a penalty unless you show reasonable cause. The penalty applies separately to original and corrected returns.
Note: Refer to the Increase in Information Return Penalties page for the inflation-adjusted penalty amounts for filing years 2011 through 2018.
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 email@example.com or 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
or fax at 304-579-4105 (not a toll-free number)