W-2 Filing

About W-2 Forms

Every employer engaged in a trade or business who pays remuneration, including noncash payments of $600 or more for the year (all amounts if any income, social security, or Medicare tax was withheld) for services performed by an employee must file a Form W-2 for each employee (even if the employee is related to the employer) from whom:

  • Income tax would have been withheld if the employee had claimed no more than one withholding allowance or had not claimed exemption from withholding on Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate.
  • Income, social security, or Medicare tax was withheld.
  • Learn more about Form W-2 at IRS.gov

W-2 State & Federal Deadlines

W-2 deadlines and requirements vary by state. That's why we've developed an easy tool to determine your filing requirements. Visit our Deadline Calculator and we'll tell you the federal, state and recipient deadline for the current reporting year. We've also included the number of parts you'll need to help you plan when ordering forms, envelopes and stamps.

NEW! Beginning in 2017 the IRS requires Form W-2 to be filed on or before January 31, 2017.

Please select State and Form Type using the dropdowns below.

W-2 Filing Requirements

W-2 Copies

If your business is required to file Form W-2, you will need to provide multiple copies. To avoid penalties, make sure to send the correct copy to the correct audience (when applicable). The following chart will help you determine the correct copy that needs to be sent to each audience:

  • Copy A: For Social Security Administration
  • Copy B: To be filed with employee's federal tax return
  • Copy C: For employee's records
  • Copy D: For employer
  • Copy 1: For state, city, or local tax department (See state filing requirements below.)
  • Copy 2: To be filed with employee's state, city, or local income tax return (See state filing requirements below.)

E-File Threshold

If you need to file more than 250 W-2 Copy A forms, you are required to file electronically with the SSA.

Federal Transmittal

In addition to filing Form W-2 to the SSA, you may be required to file a transmittal (cover sheet). If you are sending paper copies to the IRS you will need to include Form W-3. This transmittal is not required if you are filing electronically.

Our Dedicated Expertise

Understanding all of the rules associated with W-2 reporting can be confusing, but we're here to help. Greatland has full-time experts dedicated to understanding W-2 reporting compliance. We'll help you better understand the reporting requirements and guide you through the process of filing your forms to the SSA, state agency (where applicable) and sending copies to your employees.

We triple our support staff during peak filing time, with extended hours throughout the week and on Saturdays. Quite simply, you will not find better support anywhere in the industry.

W-2 Online & Software Filing Options

Greatland has three software options that fit your budget and business needs. All three programs include: Federal Filing, State Reporting and Recipient Delivery. Or click here to Compare Pricing & Plans ...

Core

A simple and easy W-2 & 1099 online reporting program designed to meet all filing requirements in minutes.

Yearli Core includes:

  • W-2 & 1099 Forms
  • Quarterly Filing
  • Online Chat & Email
  • Data Entry or Import
  • Compare Plans

Free Annual Subscription +Filing Fees

Create An Account

Performance

The premier online W-2, 1099 and 1095 filing solution with everything a business needs for fast reporting.

Includes everything in Core, plus:

  • ACA Reporting
  • TIN Matching
  • Phone Support
  • Volume Price Discounts
  • Compare Plans

$79 Annual Subscription +Filing Fees

Create An Account

Desktop

This robust software package was designed to help simplify the entire W-2, 1099 and 1095 reporting process.

Includes everything in Performance, plus:

  • Full 94X Library
  • NYS-45, CA DE-9/C Forms
  • 80 State Forms
  • Extensive Printing Options
  • Compare Plans

$399 Annual Subscription +Filing Fees

Buy Desktop

W-2 Paper Filing Options

Greatland has all the W-2 form types you may need to fulfill your filing requirements. We carry the widest selection of W-2 forms, from blank and preprinted to continuous and pressure seal. We also carry various kits and sets, so you can rest assured you have everything you need this filing season.

W-2 Form Best Practices

  • Do type or print entries with black ink only.
  • Do use 12-point Courier font.
  • Do make sure all copies are readable.
  • Do include the decimal points (i.e. cents) in the monetary entries (0000.00).
  • Do leave a box blank if it doesn't apply.
  • Do file forms alphabetically by employees' last names or numerically by Social Security Number (SSN).
  • Do send the whole Copy A page of Form W-2 with Form W-3 to the Social Security Administration, even if one of the Forms W-2 on the sheet is blank or void.
  • Do send Copy A of Form W-2c with Form W-3c to the Social Security Administration.
  • Do use pre-printed red drop-out ink forms or approved laser-generated substitute forms when filing with the Social Security Administration.
  • Do print all other copies of Form W-2 on perforated paper.
  • Don't complete W-2 forms by hand.
  • Don't use script or italics fonts or colors other than black, as it cannot be read by machines.
  • Don't use a font that is too small or too large - 12-point Courier font is recommended.
  • Don't use dollar signs or commas in the monetary entries on Copy A.
  • Don't inappropriately check the "Retirement plan" box 13.
  • Don't incorrectly fill box e - employee's name on Form W-2. The correct format is to enter the employee’s first name and middle initial in the first box, the last name in the second box, and the suffix (optional) in the third box.
  • Don't leave a box blank if you are correcting a monetary amount on Form W-2c; enter a "0" if a monetary entry shows a change and one of the amounts is zero.
  • Don't staple or tape any forms; staples, tears or tape may interfere with machine reading.
  • Don't fold any forms; send the forms to the Social Security Administration in a flat mailing.

W-2 General FAQ's

  • Form W-2 (Copy A)
  • Form W-2c (Copy A)
  • Form W-3
  • Form W-3c

There are two options when filing paper forms with the Social Security Administration:

  • File on preprinted red drop out ink forms.
  • File using laser-generated forms that have been approved by the Social Security Administration. Forms and data must be printed simultaneously by your software.

Both the form and data on all other copies (B, C, D, 1, and 2) of Form W-2 (W-2c) can be printed in black ink.

There should be no horizontal perforations separating the two Forms W-2 (Copy A) on each page. If you use continuous red drop out ink forms, separate into 11 inch (height) pages and remove pin feed strips before filing with the Social Security Administration.

All other copies (B, C, D, 1, and 2) must be perforated between the individual forms.

W-2 Form FAQ's

W-2: Employers must file W-2 forms for wages paid to each employee from whom income, Social Security, or Medicare tax was withheld. Employers must also file W-2 forms for wages paid to each employee from whom income tax would have been withheld if the employee had claimed no more than one withholding allowance or had not claimed exemption from withholding. Lastly, every employer engaged in a trade or business who pays for services performed by an employee, including noncash payments, must file a Form W-2 for each employee.

W-2c: Form W-2c must be filed by employers to correct errors on W-2 forms that have been filed with the Social Security Administration.

Copies A, 1, and D are for the employer, and copies B, 2, and C are for the employee.

Employer copies (A, 1 and D): Following the detailed instructions provided by the Internal Revenue Service, submit Copy A to the Social Security Administration either on paper or electronically; submit Copy 1 either on paper or electronically to the state, city, or local tax department, if applicable; and keep Copy D as the employer’s file copy.

Employee copies (B, 2, and C): Copy B is provided to the employee and is to be filed with the employee’s federal income tax return. Copy 2 is provided to the employee and is to be filed with the employee’s state, city, or local income tax return, if applicable; and Copy C is kept with the employee’s records.

If an error is discovered on Form W-2 after it has been submitted to the Social Security Administration, Form W-2c should be completed to correct the error, following the detailed instructions provided by the Internal Revenue Service. Use the same process for Form W-2c as for Form W-2 when creating and distributing copies to each agency and employee.

File Form W-2c (all copies) as soon as possible after you discover an error. Send Copy A of Form W-2c with Form W-3c to the Social Security Administration:

U.S. Mail
Social Security Administration
Data Operations Center
PO Box 3333
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18767-3333
Other Carriers
Social Security Administration
Data Operations Center
Attn: W-2c Process
1150 E Mountain Drive
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702-7997

You may request only one extension of time to file Form W‐2 with the SSA by submitting a complete application on Form 8809, Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns. Include a detailed explanation of why you need additional time. You must sign the application under penalties of perjury. Send the application to the address shown on Form 8809. You must request the extension before the due date of Forms W‐2. If the IRS grants your request for extension, you will have an additional 30 days to file. The IRS will grant extensions to file Forms W‐2 only in limited cases for extraordinary circumstances or catastrophe. No additional extension of time to file will be allowed. This extension will only extend the due date for filing returns; you must still provide Forms W‐2 to your employees by January 31, 2017. You may request an extension of time to furnish Forms W‐2 to employees by sending a letter on or before the due date to:

Internal Revenue Service
Attn: Extension of Time Coordinator
240 Murall Drive, Mail Stop 4360
Kearneysville, WV 25430

Your letter must include:

  • Your name and address.
  • Your employer identification number (EIN).
  • A statement that you are requesting an extension to furnish "Forms W‐2" to employees.
  • A reason for delay.
  • Your signature, or that of your authorized agent.

If you discover an error after you file Form W-2 with the Social Security Administration, file Form W-2c either electronically or on paper to correct errors on Form W-2.

If an error is detected on Form W-2 after issuing the form to the employee, but before it is filed with the Social Security Administration, it is not necessary to use Form W-2c. Simply check the "Void" box at the top of the incorrect Form W-2 on Copy A, and prepare a new Form W-2 with the correct information. Send Copy A to the Social Security Administration. On copies B, C and 2 (employee copies), write "CORRECTED" on the new copies and issue them to the employee.

The current revision date for both Forms W-2c and W-3c is 2-2009.

Employers must keep Copy D of Forms W-2 for four years.

Any filer with 250 or more Forms W-2c during a calendar year must file them electronically, unless the Internal Revenue Service grants a waiver to the filer. For purposes of the electronic filing requirement, only Forms W-2c for the immediate prior year are counted. For example, if an employer must file 200 Forms W-2c for the immediate prior year (example: 2013) in March, 2014 and then discovers that another 100 Forms W-2c for the same year (2013) must be filed in August, 2014, only the 100 Forms W-2c that are filed in August must be filed electronically.

Corrections do not have to be filed in the same manner that the originals were filed; however, any filer with 250 or more Forms W-2c during a calendar year must file them electronically.

Yes. In fact, the Social Security Administration encourages e-filing as the preferred method of filing all W-2's.

Yes. The Social Security Administration uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) communications protocol and 128-bit encryption to ensure data is transmitted securely over the Internet. This is a highly secure standard and is used by government agencies, software developers, and financial institutions.

Most software companies work with the Social Security Administration to offer a W-2 e-filing option. Refer to your software package for the specific steps to e-file.

Depending on the application used, you should retrieve submission statuses either from your software provider or directly from the Social Security Administration throughout the filing process. The receipt of your submission will likely be acknowledged with statuses such as "Received", "In Process", or "Complete".

The Social Security Administration does not publish all of the situations that will cause a filing to be rejected. However, some common reasons for rejections are:

  • The sum of the Social Security wages and Social Security tips equals the prior year maximum.
  • The employer’s EIN begins with 00, 07, 08, 09, 17, 18, 19, 28, 29, 49, 69, 70, 78, 79 or 89.
  • The employee’s social security number begins with an 8 or 9
  • The employee’s social security number is fictitious (for example 111111111, 333333333, or 123456789).

If you receive a notification indicating that your submission was rejected, you must fix any errors in the form and resubmit the data in the same manner as the original submission. Your updated file should be received by the Social Security Administration within 45 days from the date of rejection.

Rejections should not be confused with corrections. If you notice an error on a W-2 submission that has been filed with the Social Security Administration, you must correct the error by submitting a W-2c. For more information on corrections, see question 5.

If you fail to file a correct W-2 by the due date, and cannot show reasonable cause, you may be subject to a penalty. Penalties apply for:

  • Failing to file on time
  • Failing to include all required information
  • Failing to meet electronic filing requirements
  • Failing to file compliant paper forms, or
  • Failing to include correct information

The amount of the penalty is based on when the W-2 is filed:

  • $30 per Form W-2 if filed correctly within 30 days of the due date. The maximum penalty is $250,000 per year ($75,000 for small businesses).
  • $60 per Form W-2 if filed correctly more than 30 days after the due date but by August 1. The maximum penalty is $500,000 per year ($200,000 for small businesses).
  • $100 per Form W-2 if you file after August 1or you do not file the required Forms W-2. The maximum penalty is $1,500,000 per year ($500,000 for small businesses).
  • If failure to file a correct Form W-2 is due to intentional disregard of the filing or correct information requirements, the penalty is at least $250 per Form W-2 with no maximum penalty.

When filing electronically, the information normally reported on Form W-3 (W-3c) is already part of the W-2 (W-2c) e-file submission in the total records portion of the file.

If you have a hardship and cannot file electronically, the Internal Revenue Service may waive the electronic filing requirement if you can show cause. To request a waiver, you must apply 45 days before the due date of the report using Internal Revenue Service Form 8508, Request for Waiver from Filing Information Returns Electronically.

The entries on Form W-2 must be based on wages paid during the calendar year. If filing prior year information electronically,follow your software provider’s instructions for filing previous year information.

If filing a prior year W-2 on paper, the year printed on Form W-2 must match the year for which the wages were paid. Also file the prior year Form W-3 that matches the year of the Forms W-2 being filed.

W-2 Electronic Filing FAQ's

Form W-3 (W-3c) is used to summarize and transmit Copy A of Forms W-2 (W-2c) when filing on paper with the Social Security Administration. If you file one or more W-2 (W-2c) forms (Copy A) on paper, you must also file Form W-3 (W-3c).

W-3: Complete the information on Form W-3 following the instructions provided by the Internal Revenue Service. Submit Form W-3 with Copy A of Forms W-2 to the Social Security Administration. If you file more than one kind of payer (see check boxes in box b), group Forms W-2 of the same kind of payer with a separate Form W-3 for each kind, and send them in separate groups.

W-3c: Complete the information on Form W-3c following the instructions provided by the Internal Revenue Service. Submit Form W-3c with Copy A of Forms W-2c to the Social Security Administration. File a separate Form W-3c for each tax year and for each kind of payer except "Third-party sick pay."

Form W-3 or W-3c should be included in the same package with the W-2 forms; however, do not staple or tape Form W-3 or W-3c to the W-2 forms. Also, do not staple or tape Forms W-2 to each other.