It is your responsibility as an employer to file Forms W-2
with the Social Security Administration for your employees, showing the wages paid and
taxes withheld for the year. Since the Form W-2 is the only document used to transmit
information on your employees' social security and Medicare wages for the year, it is very
important to prepare the forms correctly and timely.
There are separate instructions for the Form W-2. Be sure to order them when you order
your W-2 Forms. If you have questions on any particular box on the form, refer to the
instructions, which give a detailed explanation of each box. Here are a few important
items to keep in mind when preparing Form W-2:
- Type all entries using black ink.
- Do not use dollar signs or commas, but do use decimal points followed by cents or zeroes
for no cents.
- Please do not make any erasures, cross-outs, or white-outs. Copy A, which is the first
page, must be error free. If you make an error on a form, put an "X" in the
"Void" box, and go to the next Form W-2 and start again. Do not mark the next
W-2 as corrected.
- The W-2 is printed with two forms on a page. Send in the whole Copy A page (the page
printed with red ink) even if one form is blank or void. Do not cut the page.
- Show subtotals on every 42nd form for the preceding 41 forms. Do not count amounts from
voided forms in your subtotals. If your total number of Forms W-2 is less than 42, it is
not necessary to do a subtotal form.
The Form W-2 comes with 6 copies. Copy A must be sent to the Social Security
Administration with the transmittal Form W-3
by March 2, 1998. The Form W-3 is used to transmit the W-2's and contains figures
reflecting the total of all the W-2's being sent. The address for mailing Copy A of the
W-2's and the W-3 form is listed in the W-2 instructions.
Keep the last copy of the Form W-2, Copy D, for your own records. Send Copy 1 to your
State Tax Department for requirements and transmittal information. You must give the
remaining copies to the employee by February 2, 1998. If an employee stops working for you
before the end of the year, you may give your former employee the copies anytime prior to
February 2, 1998. If the employee asks for the Form W-2, you must give the copies to the
employee within 30 days of the request or final wage payment, whichever is later.
The totals for the amounts reported on the related Forms 941, 943,
or Schedule H (Form 1040) for the year
should equal those same totals reported on your Form W-2. If the totals do not agree, you
should make corrections. If you discover an error on an employee's W-2 after sending it to
the Social Security Administration, you should submit a Form W-2c, Statement of Corrected Income and
Tax Amounts. You must also submit a transmittal Form W-3c with the Form W-2c, unless you are
changing only the employee's name or social security number.
All employers may file Form W-2 on magnetic media. However, employers filing 250 or
more Forms W-2 must report on magnetic media unless granted a waiver by the IRS. For more
information on magnetic media refer to Topics 801, 802, 803, 804, and 805. Using a personal computer and a modem, you may obtain additional
information on magnetic media filing of Form W-2 by dialing Social Security's electronic
bulletin board at (410) 965-1133. This is not a toll-free number.
Forms W-2, W-3, and instructions can be ordered by calling 1-800-829-3676. You may also
want to order Publication 15, Employer's Tax Guide, Publication 15-A, Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide, and Publication 393, Federal Employment Tax Forms.
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