Topic 805 - Electronic Filing of Information Returns

The Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) system is designed exclusively for the electronic filing of the following information returns: Forms 1042-S, 1097-BTC, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8027, 8955-SSA, and W-2G. FIRE is accessible at Benefits of electronically filing information returns include: cost-effectiveness, security (supports AES 256-bit, AES 128-bit and TDES 168-bit encryption), and a later due date for filing most information returns. The electronic filing of information returns is not associated with the Form 1040 electronic filing program.

When sending files larger than 10,000 records electronically, data compression is encouraged. WinZip or PKZIP are the only acceptable compression packages. The FIRE system is generally operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but may be down on Wednesdays between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Eastern time to apply programming updates.

After filing returns via the FIRE system, filers that provide an accurate email address on the "Verify Your Filing Information" screen will receive an email regarding the status of their transmitted file. The file status email will include the IRS assigned filename, date received, count of payees, and file status for Forms 1042-S, 1097-BTC, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8027, 8955-SSA, and W-2G. If the email indicates that the file is bad, you must log into the FIRE system and go to the "Check File Status" option to review the results of the file and timely resubmit a replacement file. If the file is good, it is automatically released for mainline processing 10 calendar days from receipt.

For more information, refer to:

  • Publication 1187 (PDF), Specifications for Electronic Filing of Form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding,
  • Publication 1220 (PDF), Specifications for Electronic Filing of Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, and W-2G,
  • Publication 1239 (PDF), Specifications for Electronic Filing of Filing Form 8027, Employer's Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips, and
  • Publication 4810 (PDF), Specifications for Electronic Filing of Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits.

You can also call the Technical Services Operation (TSO) Customer Service Section toll-free at 866-455-7438 (not toll-free) 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).

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: June 22, 2016