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How to check file status for the IRS FIRE System?

November 8th, 2013 No comments

You have a file which contains a set of records for an information return.  You submitted that to the IRS FIRE System.  The IRS will email you whether the file is Good or Bad if you provided a correct e-mail address when you set up your account.

You can patiently wait.  Typically it takes 1-2 days before you get a response back for a 1099 information.  The 1042-S, 8027 and IRS Form 8955-SSA takes anywhere from 5-7 days.  Sometimes waiting for an email response from the IRS is too much. You can log in and check your File Status at any time of the day or night.  The steps for checking the file status are as follows:

Log in the http://fire.irs.gov

Click to get to the Main Menu.  Then click on Check File Status.  Enter your TCC and TIN.  Then click on Search.

If the results indicate:

“Good, Not Released” – If the payee count is also correct, then you (the filer) are finished with this file. The file will be released after 10 calendar days.  If, within this 10 day timeframe, you find out that made any errors with this file, you can always call the IRS and ask them to delete the file. The phone number for the IRS FIRE System is toll-free 866-455-7438.  They are open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm EST.

One common mistake that I make every year is submitting the same file twice.  I click the submit button and then accidently hit submit again and the same file is submitted twice.  I can easily call the IRS and ask them to delete one of the files, but I have to call within that 10 day period of time.

“Good, Released” – The file has been released.  You won’t receive an email notification of when the file was released.

“Bad” – The file has errors and a replacement file needs to be submitted.  The good news is, click on the filename and you can view the error messages associated with this file.

“Not yet processed” – The file was submitted and received but no results are available right now.  You just have to wait.

When you are finished checking the file status, just click on Log Out and the close your web browser.

Typically it takes 1-3 days before you get an email with the file results.  But when your getting close to deadline, the IRS Fire System tends to slow and may take many days to a week before you see any results. Being able to check the file status is a nice feature.

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IRS FIRE File Types

November 8th, 2013 No comments

There are four types of files that you submit to the IRS FIRE; a testoriginalreplacement and amended or corrected file.

Test

Testing season lasts from November 1 to February 15.  You are not required to submit a test file, but testing is a great way to get some experience with the electronic filing process for information returns.

Original

An original file is an information return that has never been reported.

Replacement

If you file something and it comes back as BAD, then log into the IRS FIRE System and at the Main Menu, you can check the File Status as follows:

  1. Click on “Check File Status”.
  2. Enter your TCC.
  3. Enter you EIN.
  4. Click “Search”.

Click on the file that is BAD to reveal the errors associated with that file. Correct those errors and submit a replacement file. Continue filing a “replacement” file until it comes back as GOOD and do so within the deadline due dates.  When you are electronically submitting a replacement file, you have the option to select which file you want to replace.

Correction

If you file something and it comes back as GOOD, then the file has been processed.  Let’s say later you discover that some of the records contained erroneous data.  You may have
transmitted a missing or incorrect TIN, payee name or address, the amounts or amount codes may have been wrong or other common errors. Then you need to submit a corrected file which contains just the records that need to be amended. If you filed 400 1099-MISC records and found out later that 25 of those records contained erroneous data, then you need to put together a corrected file of just those 25 records and submit.

If your corrected file is BAD, correct the file and resubmit as a replacement, not another correction.

File Status

If the file status indicates:

“Not yet processed”.  Then you just need to wait and check back in a few days.  Typically, a file will be reviewed within 1-2 days, but as deadlines approach, the IRS FIRE system tends to get bogged down and there may be delays in processing a file.  Some files such as the 8955-SSA or IRS Form 8027 take up to 5-7 days to process.

If the file status indicates “Good, Not Released” and you agree with the “Count of Payees”, then you are finished with this file. The file with be automatically released after 10 calendar days.

“Good, Released”. Then the file has been released to the IRS for processing.

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Corrections and replacement files via the IRS FIRE System

November 8th, 2013 No comments

You submitted a file to the IRS FIRE System.  The file contained data about a specific information return.

The file came back as BAD.  In this case, you need to submit a replacement file.  If you submit the replacement file and that file as well is BAD, then you want to submit another replacement file and just keep submitting replacement files until you get a GOOD file status.  You can log into the IRS FIRE System, click on Check File Status, click on the BAD file and you will see the error messages associated with this file.  Visit 1099fire.com and the site lists the errors associated with 1099, 1042-S, 8027 and 8955-SSA file submission.

A correction, in contrast, is when you submit a file and it comes back as GOOD.  But later you find out that the datafile that you submitted contains erroneous information.  In this situation, you need to put submit a corrected datafile.

If you find out that the data file contains errorneous information within the 10-12 days after you submitted your file, then call the IRS and ask them to delete the file.  Submitting a file and getting a file status of GOOD means that the file is GOOD but not released.  It takes anywhere from 10 to 12 days before your data file is released.  If you call the IRS within that 10-12 day window, you can ask them to delete the file and they will.  You then submit a new original file with the correct data.  IRS FIRE help can be reached toll-free 866-455-7438.

There are two types of corrections, a one-step and a two-step correction.  A one-step correction applies when you have new payment amounts for the payee or recepient.  A two-step correction applies when the original file you submitted had a missing or incorrect TIN for the payee, an incorrect payee name or the wrong type of return was indicated.  In this two-step case, you first create a file which blanks out the original file and money amounts.  You then submit a 2nd file which has the correct information.

You want to prepare and submit a correction as soon as you find out that you submitted erroneous data.  The IRS FIRE System is open most the year.

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