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Publication 80

3. Employee's Social Security Number (SSN)(p7)

An employee's social security number (SSN) consists of nine digits separated as follows: 000-00-0000. You must get each employee's name and SSN and enter them on Form W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, or W-2VI. If you do not report the employee's correct name and SSN, you may owe a penalty unless you have reasonable cause. See Publication 1586, Reasonable Cause Regulations & Requirements for Missing and Incorrect Name/TINs, for information on the requirement to solicit the employee's SSN.

Employee's social security card.(p7)

You should ask the employee to show you his or her social security card. The employee may show the card if it is available. Do not accept a social security card that says "Not valid for employment." A social security number issued with this legend does not permit employment. You may, but you are not required to, photocopy the social security card if the employee provides it. If an employee does not have a social security card or needs a new one, the employee should apply for one on Form SS-5 and submit the necessary documentation. The employee must complete and sign Form SS-5; it cannot be filed by the employer. You may be asked to supply a letter to accompany Form SS-5 if the employee has exceeded his or her yearly or lifetime limit for the number of replacement cards allowed. If your employee has applied for an SSN but has not received the card before you must file your Form W-2 reports, and you are filing your reports on paper, enter "Applied For" in box d. Enter all zeroes in the SSN field if filing electronically. When the employee receives the SSN, file Copy A of Form W-2c with SSA to show the employee's SSN.

Correctly record the employee's name and SSN.(p7)

Record the name and number of each employee as they appear on his or her social security card. If the name is not correct as shown on the card (for example, because of marriage or divorce), the employee should request an updated card from the SSA. Continue to use the old name until the employee shows you the updated social security card with the corrected name.
If the SSA issues the employee an updated card after a name change, or a new card with a different social security number, file a Form W-2c to correct the name/SSN reported on the most recently filed Form W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, or W-2VI. It is not necessary to correct other years if the previous name and SSN were used for years before the most recent Form W-2.

Where to get and file social security number application forms.(p7)


U.S. Virgin Islands—U.S. Social Security Administration, 8000 Nisky Shopping Center, First Floor, Suite 14, St. Thomas, VI 00802.
Guam—U.S. Social Security Administration, 770 East Sunset Blvd., Suite 155, Tiyan, GU 96913.
American Samoa—U.S. Social Security Administration, Centennial Building, Third Floor, Suite 302, Pago Pago, AS 96799.
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands—U.S. Social Security Administration, MH 11 Building, Suite 201, Marina HGT Business Pk., Saipan, MP 96950.

Verification of social security numbers.(p7)

Employers and authorized reporting agents can use the Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS) to instantly verify up to 10 names and SSNs (per screen) at a time, or submit an electronic file of up to 250,000 names and SSNs and usually receive the results the next business day. Visit for more information.
Registering for SSNVS.(p7)
You must register online and receive authorization from your employer to use SSNVS. To register, visit SSA's website at and click on the Register link under Business Services Online. Follow the registration instructions to obtain a user identification (ID) and password. You will need to provide the following information about yourself and your company.
When you have completed the online registration process, SSA will mail a one-time activation code to your employer. You must enter the activation code online to use SSNVS.