e file for Large and Mid Size Corporations Frequently Asked Questions Modernized e File Benefits and Overview Tax Year 2018


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Archived Guidance for prior year FAQs

A. Modernized e-File, Benefits, and Overview

# Questions Answer
A1 What is e-file for large and mid-size corporations?

IRS e-file is the name for the electronic filing of tax returns. When a corporation e-files they send their income tax return data to IRS electronically instead of on paper forms. In 2004 IRS started a new e-file system for corporations, referred to as “Modernized e-File” (MeF) that is web-based, allowing electronic filing of corporate income tax returns through the Internet. MeF uses the widely accepted XML format, a standardized way of identifying, storing and transmitting data.

Certain corporations are required to e-file as explained in these FAQs. With few exceptions, all corporations that file TY 2016, TY 2017 and TY 2018 Forms 1120, 1120S, or 1120-F may file electronically.

IRS e-file is available to corporations that prepare and/or transmit their own returns and to those that rely upon a tax professional to prepare and/or transmit their returns.

A2 Are there corporations that file Forms 1120, 1120S, or 1120-F that can not file their tax returns electronically? The Corporate e-file Program does not accept and process the following corporate returns. Therefore, the corporation is excluded from the electronic filing requirement under TD 9363 unless otherwise noted.

Returns with tax periods ending prior to January 1, 2016

  • Returns covering multiple tax periods
  • Bank Holding Company Tax Act. Election to make installment payments for a portion of the total tax attributable to the Bank Holding Company Tax Act
  • Prompt Assessments

The following forms cannot be filed electronically as a return at the parent level:

Corporations required to e-file subsidiary returns for the following forms must file them in XML format. Refer to "Tax Year 2018 Directions to e-file" for additional information.

  • 1120-L - Life Insurance Company
  • 1120-PC - Property and Casualty

If the forms listed below are stand-alone filings (not part of a consolidated return), they must be filed in paper since the Modernized e-File (MeF) system does not process them at this time. However, if the following forms are part of a consolidated return, they may be attached in PDF format. They should be named appropriately and attached to the top-level consolidated return. See: Recommended Name and Descriptions for PDF Files Attached to MeF Business Submissions

  • 1120-C (formerly 990-C) - Farmer's Cooperative Association
  • 1120-FSC - Foreign Sales Corporations
  • 1120-H - Homeowners Association
  • 1120-IC-DISC - Interest Charge Domestic International Sales
  • 1120-ND - Nuclear Decommission Trusts
  • 1120-REIT - Real Estate Investment Trust
  • 1120-RIC - Regulated Investment Companies
  • 1120-SF - Settlement Funds

The 1120X cannot be e-filed as a stand-alone return. It can only be submitted as an attachment to an 1120 return.

  • 1120X - Amended Return
A3 Does that mean a corporation can e-file a 52-53 week, short period, or final Tax Year 2018 1120/1120S/1120-F income tax return? Yes, IRS modified MeF programs so corporations can file income tax returns for:
  • 52-53 week
  • short period
  • final returns
    The IRS worked with the Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA) and 28 state tax agencies to develop a fed/state electronic filing system for business tax returns filed on Modernized e-File. The system was implemented by the IRS in 2006. Check with your State tax authorities for specific information about state electronic filing options available to corporations