Filing Annual Wage and Tax Reports - 2018 Deadlines

2018 Deadlines for 2017 Annual Wage and Tax Reports

One of your duties as an employer is to provide reports to employees and independent contractors showing their income from the previous year. The report to employees is created on Form W-2; the one to contract workers is on Form 1099-MISC. These reports are due to employees and independent contractors by the end of January the following year. So, for 2017 wages and payments, the reports are due January 31, 2018.

You must also file copies of these reports, along with summary reports, to the IRS and Social Security Administration (SSA), for verification purposes by the end of January.

New Deadline Changes

The deadlines for filing Form W-2 (with the Social Security Administration) and Form 1099-MISC (with the IRS) have been made earlier, beginning in 2017 for the 2016 tax year, and continuing into future years The new deadline is January 31 for each year. This deadline is the same for both paper and electronic filing, and it's the same date as the deadline for providing W-2s to employees and 1099-MISC forms to independent contractors.

How Due Dates are Determined

If any of these filing dates falls on a weekend or national holiday, the filings are due the first normal business day thereafter. For example, if January 31 is on a Saturday, the due date would be Monday, February 2. 

By January 31, 2017 - Provide Copies of Form W-2 to Employees

W-2 forms must be provided to employees by January 31, 2018, for 2017 taxes. You must submit all  2017 W-2 forms, along with a summary report on Form W-3, to the Social Security Administration by January 31, 2018. 

You can prepare W-2 forms by following the step-by-step process, including gathering information about the employee and earnings and filling in the boxes.  More

By January 31, 2018, Provide Copies of 1099-MISC Forms to Non-employees

This article includes all the information you need to prepare and file Form 1099-MISC for independent contractors and businesses you pay.

Before you can prepare and send a 1099-MISC to a non-employee, you must get a  W-9 form from that person, to verify taxpayer ID. 

You must send a 1099-MISC to any non-employee to whom you've paid $600 or more during the year. Most non-employees must receive a 1099-MISC, but there are exceptions for who must receive a 1099-MISC. 


By January 31, 2018, File Form 1096 with the IRS (along with 1099s)

Learn how to prepare and submit Form 1096 (Annual Summary and Transmittal of Information Returns) to the IRS, along with copies of 1099-MISC forms you sent to independent contractor and businesses you paid.

You must complete a 1096 form for each different type of 1099 form you prepare ​if you re submitting these forms by mail. If you file 1099-MISC and other 1099 forms electronically, you don't have to complete a 1096 form.  More

By January 31, 2018, File Form W-3 with Social Security (with W-2s)

Form W-3 is a transmittal form, which summarizes the information on all of the W-2 forms you are submitting to the Social Security Administration. The W-3 form must be sent if you are submitting by mail. The transmittal forms, along with all of your employee W-2 forms, are due to the Social Security Administration by the end of January. 

You may also be able to file these forms online, using the Social Security Administration's Business Services Online portal. If you are submitting W-2 forms online, you don't need to include a W-3 transmittal form.  More

How to Request an Extension of Time to File W-2s of 1099-MISC Forms

If you think you are going to have to file late, you may request a 30-day extension of time to file W-2s. Extensions are not granted automatically, and you will need to provide a detailed explanation of the reason for the extension. Use Form 8809 to file an extension application, by January 31. The IRS says it will only grant the extension in "extraordinary circumstances or catastrophe." The circumstances are limited to those affecting the operation of the business: 

  • Catastrophic event in a Presidentially Declared Disaster Area
  • Death, serious illness, or unavoidable absence of the person responsible for filing the returns
  • Fire, casualty, or natural disaster, or
  • The business was in its first year of operation. 

Filing an application for an extension may help you avoid fines and penalties for late filing of W-2 and 1099-MISC forms. More

Employees vs. Independent Contractors - What's the Difference?

It's important to be sure that you are paying people correctly for their type of work and to use the correct form to report wages and payments. 

The difference between whether someone receives a W-2 or a 1099-MISC to report income depends on whether the person is an employee or an independent contractor. 

If you are not sure if a worker is an employee or a contract worker, this article about Employee vs. Contractor status might help. This article about What is an Employee includes the three main criteria the IRS uses to evaluate the status of workers,