Existing FIRE users need to move to the IRS’s new TCC portal until 1 August 2023. It is currently foreseen that as part of that process a US TIN will be required, which causes difficulties for non-US banks.
The IRS recently announced new developments that impact the reporting on the IRS Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) system for existing users. As a reminder, reporting on FIRE requires a Transmitter Control Code (TCC), which until September 2021 could be obtained by filing Form 4419. Since then, new TCC applications can only be filed electronically, using the new IR Application for TCC portal.
Now the IRS announced that existing FIRE users who already have a TCC need to move to the new TCC portal and update their application online anytime between September 2022 and 1 August 2023. Otherwise any existing TCC will be deactivated and no longer available for filing on FIRE. This will require validation of the identity of the person designated as responsible official (as listed on Form 4419) through Secure Access, for which most notably a US TIN will be required.
The following steps need to be taken by Swiss QI banks due to this change:
- Review whether the TCC information previously submitted to the IRS with Form 4419 is still up-to-date (incl. current contact name, email address and phone number, correct spelling of the QI’s legal name, etc.). Any changes to the existing data using Form 4419 must be made before 1 August 2022.
- In order to keep an existing TCC, an IR-TCC Application will need to be completed and submitted by logging onto the TCC portal by 1 August 2023. This will require designating a person as responsible official that has a US TIN.
- Any Forms 1042-S for the year 2023 (to be filed in 2024) and onwards can only be filed on FIRE with a valid IR-TCC Application or by enlisting an authorized third party to file.
The Form 1042-S reporting for the year 2022 (to be filed in 2023) can still be filed on FIRE under the current process and existing TCC.
Swiss banks will likely struggle to find a person to act as responsible official that meets the IR-TCC application requirements. In particular, a non-US person may find it difficult to obtain a US TIN for this purpose, and it is our understanding that the process currently may take up to one year (additional hurdles remain, such as providing US tax filing status, financial account data, 30 day validity for activation code sent by mail absent a US mobile phone number). Disappointingly, the only solution provided by the IRS currently is to enlist a third party to file Forms 1042-S in FIRE (see IRS FAQ #17), which will not be a practical solution for most Swiss banks. Professional bodies continue lobbying with the IRS in order to hopefully achieve a workable solution allowing QIs to continue filing their 1042-S reporting on FIRE.