W-2 Form - How to Complete, File, Print and Send

Form W-2 is the statement you provide employees after the end of each year, with information on their gross pay, Social Security and Medicare pay, federal and state income tax withholding, and tax-related deductions. You must provide this statement to every employee who worked for your company the previous year, by the end of January the following year.

 The deadline for giving employees their W-2 forms hasn't changed. It's still January 31. 

UPDATE: The deadline for submitting W-2 forms to the Social Security Administration (SSA) has changed.

The 2017 W-2 forms, along with W-3 form, must be submitted to SSA no later than January 31, 2017, for the 2016 tax year. This is the same deadline as the date for providing W-2s to employees. Read more details about this new deadline. 

Do I Use Form W-2 or Form 1099-MISC?

Form W-2 is used to provide income and withholding information to employees for their income tax returns. Form 1099-MISC is the form you use to provide income information to independent contractors, freelancers, and other non-employees. Most non-employees must receive a 1099-MISC form if you have paid that person $600 or more in the previous year. 

If you are not sure whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, you can read more about this subject in the article: "Employee? Or Independent Contractor?" More

Where Can I Get W-2 Forms?

You can get W-2 forms from your local office supply store, from your CPA, or online from the IRS. You can also get W-2 forms from your tax program (some programs). 

Where you CANNOT get W-2 forms

You can't download and print out W-2 forms from the IRS website or elsewhere on the Internet.  Copy A is a specific color of red ink and only originals can be submitted.  More

How Do I Prepare Form W-2?

You can prepare W-2 forms manually, or with purchased software, or you can use your tax preparation software, if it has these features. You can also use a tax preparation service or a payroll service to do this preparation.  More

How Do I Submit W-2 Forms to the Social Security Administration?

You provide employees with copies of their W-2 forms by January 31. Note that deadline is the end of January, for the year after the tax year in question. So, 2016 forms must be submitted by January 31, 2017.  Now, you must also file these W-2 forms, along with a W-3 summary transmittal form with the Social Security Administration by January 31.  More

How Can I Submit W-2 Forms Online?

You can submit W-2 forms and the W-3 summary transmittal form to the Social Security Administration (SSA) electronically.  First, you must sign up for the SSA's Business Services Online service. More

What are Common Mistakes Made in Completing Form W-2?

Here's a listing of common errors that are made on Form W-2. Before you give Form W-2 to employees, and especially before you submit W-2 forms to the Social Security Administration, take a few minutes to make sure everything is perfect. More

How Can I Correct a W-2 Form?

Now that the deadlines for giving W-2s to employees and to the Social Security Administration are the same, you will have to go through a correction process with the SSA to correct errors on these forms.  More

What If I Don't File My W-2 on Time? What If the W-2 is Late?

This article explains the penalties for late filing of W-2s and also how you can apply for a 30-day extension. The extension isn't granted automatically, and you must provide a detailed explanation of why the extension is necessary.  More

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