How Do I Submit W-2 Forms?

Sending W-2 Forms to the Social Security Administration

professional woman doing paperwork
Sam Edwards/Caiaimage/Getty Images

UPDATE: New Earlier Deadline for Submitting W-2 Forms  

The deadline for filing W-2 and W-3 forms with the Social Security Administration has been changed. For 2016 forms (and into the future), the filing deadline is January 31, 2017. The earlier submission date was set up to help prevent tax fraud. Read more about the 2017 annual payroll tax report deadlines. The new deadline applies to all W-2 filings, even online filing.

 

Long before you worry about where to send your employees' W-2 forms, you must create them and prepare some additional documentation. It can help to have an understanding of the requirements and rules for these tax forms. 

Before You Send the W-2 Forms

Business owners must prepare a W-2 Wage and Tax Statement for each employee, showing wages earned, federal and state income tax withheld, other deductions, and information necessary for the employee to prepare his personal tax return. These W-2 forms must be provided to your employees by the end of January in the year following that for which the income is being reported. 

You must also prepare a W-3 form, summarizing the information included in the W-2s. Make sure all information on the W-3 form is exactly the same as that on the W-2s, including your business information. The totals on each form must match.

Review these other common errors in submitting W-2 and W-3 forms.

 If you make a mistake and must correct a W-2 form, you'll also have to submit an amended W-3. 

Sending the Forms to the Social Security Administration 

Send your W-2 forms to the Social Security Administration, NOT to the Internal Revenue Service. You have a bit more time to send W-2 forms to the SSA than you do to provide them to your employees -- until the end of February unless you e-file, which allows you more time and is much easier overall.

 

  • Review your completed W-2 forms to make sure all information is clear and readable. Keep Copy A -- the red copy.
  • Submit the red Copy A of each W-2 forms to the SSA. The SSA will not accept photocopies.
  • Submit a Form W-3 summary transmittal form to the SSA no later than January 31 of the year following the year for which the W-2 form were prepared. A W-3 form for 2016 must be submitted by January 31, 2017. 
  • Send the forms by U.S. Postal Service to the Social Security Administration at: Data Operations Center, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18769-0001.
  • If you file at the last minute and must use a private delivery service such as UPS or Federal Express to get it there overnight, the address is different: Data Operations Center, ATTN: W-2 Process, 1150 E. Mountain Drive, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702-7997.
  • Corrected forms should be sent to: Data Operations Center, P.O. Box 3333, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18767-3333 if you send them by regular mail. If you send them by private delivery service, use the same 1150 E. Mountain Drive address you would use for original copies sent overnight. 
  • You may also e-file W-2 forms online to the Social Security Administration through their Business Services Online section. You don't have to include the W-3 form if you e-file the forms -- the SSA will calculates a total from the W-2 forms. There is no extension of the filing deadline of January 31 for online filing.You can submit corrected forms online as well. 

    Find more Answers to Your Questions About W-2 Forms