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Rev. date: 11/27/2017

Filing Forms W-2 and W-3

Tax Topic 752

Form W-2

Employers must complete, file electronically or by mail with the Social Security Administration (SSA), and furnish to their employees Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, showing the wages paid and taxes withheld for the year for each employee. Because employees' social security and Medicare benefits are computed based on information on Form W-2, it's very important to prepare Form W-2 correctly and timely.

Form W-3

Anyone required to file Form W-2 must also file Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, to transmit Copy A of Form W-2 to the SSA. The totals for amounts reported on related employment tax forms (Form 941, Form 943, Form 944, or Form 1040 (Schedule H), for the year) should agree with the amounts reported on Form W-3. If you have questions about a particular box on Forms W-2 or W-3, refer to the Instructions iw2w3.pdf, which give a detailed explanation of each box. The address for mailing Copy A of the Form W-2 and Form W-3 is also listed in the Instructions iw2w3.pdf. Be sure to order Form W-3 when you order Forms W-2.

Where and When to File

The official Form W-2 is available as a multi-copy form packet. The form packet provides all six copies that the user may need for each Form W-2 (Copy A, Copy 1, Copy B, Copy C, Copy 2, and Copy D). You must submit by mail or electronically Copy A of Form(s) W-2 to the SSA with the transmittal Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, by the last day of January. Special due dates apply if you have terminated your business. The Form W-3 and Copy A of each Form W-2 that you send to the SSA must be on a scan-form version and can be ordered online or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). Refer to the Instructions iw2w3.pdf for additional information. Send Copy 1, if applicable, to your state, city, or local tax department. Contact that state, city, or local tax department for requirements and transmittal information. You should retain the employer copy, Copy D, for 4 years.
You must furnish Copies B, C, and 2 of Form W-2 to your employees by January 31, 2018. You'll meet the furnish requirement if the form is properly addressed and mailed on or before the due date. If an employee stops working for you before the end of the year, you may give your former employee Form W-2 anytime prior to January 31, 2018, but no later than January 31, 2018. If your employee asks for the Form W-2, you must give your employee Copies B, C, and 2 within 30 days of the request or within 30 days of the final wage payment, whichever is later.
Preparing Form W-2

Making Corrections

If you discover an error on an employee's Form W-2 after sending it to the SSA, submit a Form W-2C, Corrected Wage and Tax Statement. File Form W-3C, Transmittal of Corrected Wage and Tax Statements, whenever you file a Form W-2c with the SSA. Refer to the Instructions iw2w3.pdf for additional information.

Electronic Requirement

Employers filing 250 or more Forms W-2 must file electronically unless granted a waiver by the IRS. All employers are encouraged to file Forms W-2 electronically. The due date is January 31. For more information on electronic filing, refer to the Instructions iw2w3.pdf and to Tax Topic 801, Tax Topic 802, and Tax Topic 803. You may obtain additional information on electronic filing of Forms W-2 from the SSA's Business Services Online (BSO) or by contacting the SSA's Employee Reporting Branch at 800-772-6270 (TTY 800-325-0778).

Additional Information