Instructions for Forms W-2AS, W-2GU, W-2VI, and W-3SS - Introductory Material


Table of Contents

What's New

Employee social security tax withholding.   The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 has temporarily reduced the rate of social security tax withholding (for employees only) from 6.2% to 4.2%, for wage payments made in 2011. See Box 4—Social security tax withheld on page 6.

New electronic filing option.    Employers in American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands can now use the SSA’s W-2 Online service to create, save, print, and submit up to 20 Forms W-2AS, W-2GU, or W-2VI at a time over the Internet. For more information, see E-filing on page 3.

Advance earned income (EIC) payments.   Public Law 111-226 repealed the advance earned income credit payment for tax years beginning after December 31, 2010. Box 9, Advance EIC payments, has been eliminated from the 2011 Forms W-2GU and W-2VI.

Interim relief for Form W-2 reporting of the cost of coverage of group health Insurance.    Reporting the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage will not be mandatory for 2011 Forms W-2. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act added code DD to Box 12 of the 2011 Forms W-2AS, W-2GU, and W-2VI to report this information. Additional reporting guidance will be available on the Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions page of IRS.gov. For details, see Notice 2010-69, 2010-44 I.R.B.576, available at www.irs.gov/irb/2010-44_IRB/ar13.html.

Form W-3SS, Kind of Employer.   To improve document matching compliance, box b of Form W-3SS has been expanded to include a new section, Kind of Employer, with five new checkboxes. All filers are required to check the applicable box. For more information, see Box b—Kind of Employer on page 9.

Employment Tax Forms Referenced in These Instructions

Form Title
940 Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return
941 Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return
941-SS Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands)
941-X Adjusted Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund
943 Employer's Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees
943-X Adjusted Employer's Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees or Claim for Refund
944 Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return
944-SS Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands)
944-X Adjusted Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund
Increase in information return penalties.   The penalties for failure to file correct information returns and failure to furnish correct payee statements have increased. See Penalties in the 2011 Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3.

Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (MSRRA).   This Act amends the 2003 Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. MSRRA applies to the 2009 tax year as well as subsequent tax years. You may be required to report wages and taxes on a form different from the form you generally use if an employee claims residence or domicile under MSRRA in a different jurisdiction in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

  Under MSRRA, the spouse of an active duty servicemember (civilian spouse) may keep his or her prior residence or domicile for tax purposes (tax residence) when accompanying the servicemember spouse, who is relocating under military orders, to a new military duty station in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. possession. Before relocating, both spouses must have had the same tax residence.

   For example, if a civilian spouse is working in Guam but properly claims tax residence in one of the 50 states under MSRRA, his or her income from services would not be taxable income for Guam tax purposes. Federal income taxes should be withheld and remitted to the IRS. State and local income taxes may need to be withheld and remitted to state and local tax authorities. You should consult with state, local, or U.S. possession tax authorities regarding your withholding obligations under MSRRA.

Designated Roth contributions.   The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-240) allows participants in governmental section 457 plans to treat elective deferrals as Roth contributions, beginning with taxable years after December 31, 2010. Code EE, Designated Roth contributions under a governmental section 457(b) plan, has been added to the list of codes in Box 12 of Forms W-2AS, W-2GU, and W-2VI. See Designated Roth contributions on page 4.


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