First-time electronic filers are encouraged (but not required) to submit a FIRE test file. However, a test file is required when applying to participate in the Combined Federal/State Filing Program.
Through the Combined Federal/State Filing (CF/SF) Program, the Internal Revenue Service, Technical Services Operation (TSO) forwards original and corrected information returns filed electronically to participating states free of charge for approved filers. Separate reporting to those states isn't required. The information returns that may be filed under the Combined Federal/State Filing Program are:
- Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions
- Form 1099-DIV, Dividends and Distributions
- Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments
- Form 1099-INT, Interest Income
- Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions
- Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income
- Form 1099-OID, Original Issue Discount
- Form 1099-PATR, Taxable Distributions Received From Cooperatives
- Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc., and
- Form 5498, IRA Contribution Information
A test file, properly coded for the program, must be submitted in order to participate in the Combined Federal/State Filing Program. See FIRE for more information. Although a test file is only required for the first year, it's highly recommended that a test file be sent every year. Combined Federal/State records must be coded using the two-digit codes assigned to the participating states from the table in Publication 1220.pdf, Specifications for Electronic Filing of Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, and W-2G. If the Combined Federal/State test file is acceptable, the IRS sends the filer a letter of approval.
Form 4419.pdf, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) must be filed no later than 45 days before the due date of the information returns. TSO issues a Transmitter Control Code (TCC). The TCC is required on all files and correspondence.
For further information, refer to Publication 1220.pdf or call the TSO Customer Service Section toll-free at 866-455-7438 or at 304-579-4827 (not toll-free) if using the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD). Foreign filers may call 304-263-8700 (not toll-free).
AIR is the e-file platform used for Affordable Care Act returns. Software developers, transmitters, and issuers must pass all applicable test scenarios. This ensures filers can communicate with the IRS before they submit information returns through the AIR system.
- Software Developers are required to annually pass Affordable Care Act Assurance Testing System (AATS) testing to transmit information returns to the IRS. Software developers will need a new Software ID for each tax year and each ACA Information Return package they support.
- Transmitters and Issuers must use approved software to perform the communications test. Transmitters and issuers are only required to successfully complete the communication test once.
See Affordable Care Act Information Returns (AIR) Program for more information.