Preparing and Filing Form W-3

Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements

Filing W-3 Forms Online
Filing W-3 Forms Online. hh5800/Getty Images

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

The IRS has announced that the filing deadline for 2016 W-2s and 1099 forms, including W-3 forms,  is January 31, 2017. That's a month earlier than the former filing date.

This earlier date means that the deadline for submitting these forms to the Social Security Administration (SSA) is the same as the date when you must submit forms to employees.

If you don't submit forms to employees early in January, you won't be able to make corrections before submitting to the SSA. 

What is Form W3?

Form W-3 is a compilation/summary return, which shows the totals from W-2 forms which you submitted for employees. The W-3 must be submitted to the IRS along with these statements. If you e-file your W-2s with the Social Security Administration's Business Services Online site, you don't need to include a W-3 form; the W-3 is calculated automatically. Read more about how to e-file W-2s.

When Must Form W-3 be Submitted?

Form W-3 must be submitted to the Social Security Administration no later than the last business day of February each year (February 28 for 2015 taxes), along with a copy of all the W-2 statements which it summarizes. 

Where Do I File Form W-3/W-2s? Can I File Online?

Send Form W-3 to the Social Security Administration at:
Data Operations Center
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18769-0001

How Do I Complete Form W-3?

  1. The control number (Box a) is optional.
  2. In box b, check the box that describes how you pay employment taxes. You probably pay on Form 941 or Form 944.
  3. In Box c, enter the total number of W-2s you are attaching. Enter your Employer ID Number in Box e.
  4. In Boxes f and g, enter your business name and address.
  1. Boxes 1 through 14 correspond to the boxes on the W-2, and you must enter the totals for all W-2s for each of these categories. For example, in Box 1, enter the total wages, tips, and other compensation on all W-2s you are submitting.
  2. Boxes 15 through 18 are your state identifier and totals for state income and withholding for all W-2s.
  3. Finally, the W-3 must be signed to verify its accuracy.

Submitting W-2 and W-3 Forms Online

You may file W-3 forms online by enrolling in Social Security's Business Services online program. 

Other Instructions for W-3 Forms 

The W-3, along with Copy A of all W-2s, must be submitted to the Social Security Administration, NOT the IRS! 

Be sure that all the information on the W-3 about you , including your EIN, is the same as on the W-2 forms you are submitting and that all the totals match the total amounts on the W-2s.

Don't forget to sign and date the form.

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