How to File W-2 Forms with W-3 Forms Online

How to E-File W-2 Forms and W-3 Forms Online

How to E-File Form W-2
How to E-File Form W-2. Ali Majdfar/Getty Images

UPDATE: New Earlier Filing Date for W-2 forms and W-3 Form

The IRS has announced that the filing deadline for filing 2016 W-2s and 1099 forms, with the Social Security Administration, including W-3 forms,  is January 31, 2017. That's a month earlier than the former filing date; the earlier date was set up to help prevent tax fraud. The earlier date applies to all filings, including online filing. Read more the new W-2 and 1099 filing requirements. 

How Do I File W-2 Forms and W-3 Forms Online?  

W-2 Wage and Tax Statements for each employee must be submitted to the Social Security Administration (SSA) each year for all of your employees, for the previous calendar year. W-2 forms for employees are submitted along with Form W-3, which is a summary form.

W-2 forms are due, along with W-3 summary transmittal forms, at the end February, for the previous year. Since these forms are due to employees at the end of January, this gives time for the forms to be reviewed by employees and for any errors to be corrected.

You may e-file Forms W-2 online on the SSA's Business Services Online website. You can create fill-in versions of these forms, print out copies for filing with state or local governments, for distribution to employees, and for your own records.

Filing 250 or more W-2 Forms? You MUST File Online

 The Social Security Administration says, 

If you file 250 or more Forms W-2 during a calendar year, you must file them electronically unless the IRS grants you a waiver. (You may be charged a penalty if you fail to file electronically when required.)

Benefits to E-Filing W-2 Forms and W-3 Forms

  • E-filing, according to the IRS, saves time and effort and helps ensure accuracy.
  • You don't need to calculate and submit a W-3 transmittal form; the Social Security Administration generates a W-3 automatically.
  • If you e-file, the due date is the end of March, a month later than if you file these forms by mail.
  • You can use the BSO site to verify Social Security Numbers for wage reporting purposes.
  • The BSO site offers a tutorial, handbooks, a checklist and lots of other useful information to help you e-file those W-2 forms.
  • If you make a mistake in one or more W-2 forms after you have filed, you can submit W-2c forms to correct the error.

Before You Submit These Forms Electronically

To submit W-2 forms online, you must first register with the Social Security Administration's Business Services Online section. 

Then you will need to create and save your W-2 forms using a special file format and submit them to BSO.

After the files are submitted, you can view the uploaded files and see error reports, including name and Social Security Number mismatches, and make corrections.

You can also review the status of your submission and see if the file has been accepted.

Still confused about Form W-2? Answers to Your Questions About the W-2 Form