Internal Revenue Bulletin:  2009-51 

December 21, 2009 

Rev. Proc. 2009-48

General Rules and Specifications for Substitute Forms W-2c and W-3c


Section 1 - Purpose

.01 The purpose of this revenue procedure is to state the requirements of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) regarding the preparation and use of substitute forms for Form W-2c, Corrected Wage and Tax Statement, and Form W-3c, Transmittal of Corrected Wage and Tax Statements.

.02 The official IRS Form W-2c is a six-part form and the official IRS Form W-3c is a one-part form. Red-ink substitute forms that completely conform to the specifications contained in this document may be privately-printed without the prior approval of the IRS or the SSA. Only the black-and-white laser-printed forms need to be submitted to the SSA for approval.

Note

Note. Both paper substitute forms filed with the SSA, and those furnished to employees, that do not totally conform to these specifications are not acceptable. Forms W-2c (Copy A) and Forms W-3c that do not conform may be returned. In addition, penalties may be assessed.

.03 Substitute red-ink forms should not be submitted to either the IRS or the SSA for specific approval. If you are uncertain of any specification and want clarification, do the following.

  1. Submit a letter to the appropriate address below citing the specification.

  2. State your understanding of the specification.

  3. Enclose an example (if appropriate) of how the form would appear if produced using your understanding.

  4. Be sure to include your name, complete address, phone number, and, if applicable, your email address with your correspondence.

.04 Any questions about the specifications, especially those for the red-ink Form W-2c (Copy A) and Form W-3c, should be emailed to substituteforms@irs.gov . Please enter “Substitute Forms” on the subject line. Or send your questions to:

Internal Revenue Service Attn: Substitute Forms ProgramSE:W:CAR:MP:T:T:SP, IR 6526 1111 Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC 20224

Any questions about the black-and-white laser-printed Form W-2c (Copy A) and Form W-3c should be emailed to laser.forms@ssa.gov or sent to:

Social Security Administration Data Operations Center Attn: Laser Forms Approval, Room 348 1150 E. Mountain Drive Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702-7997

Note

Note. You should receive a response from either the IRS or the SSA within 30 days.

.05 The IRS maintains a centralized customer service call site at its Enterprise Computing Center-Martinsburg (ECC) to answer questions related to information returns (Forms W-2, W-3, W-2c, W-3c, 1099 series, 1096, etc.). You can reach the call site at 304-263-8700 (not a toll-free number) or 1-866-455-7438 (toll-free). The Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) number is 304-579-4827 (not a toll-free number). The hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern time. You may also send questions to the call site via the Internet at mccirp@irs.gov . IRS/ECC does not process information returns which are filed on paper forms.

.06 The following form instructions and publications provide more detailed filing procedures for certain information returns.

  • Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3.

  • Instructions for Forms W-2c and W-3c (Rev. February 2009).

  • Publication 1141, General Rules and Specifications for Substitute Forms W-2 and W-3.

Section 2 - What’s New

.01 We are revising this revenue procedure, which will be reproduced as Publication 1223, General Rules and Specifications for Substitute Forms W-2c and W-3c, because Forms W-2c and W-3c were revised in February 2009. Publication 1223 will only be available online at www.irs.gov . Several changes have been made to Forms W-2c and W-3c since they were previously revised in January 2006. The major changes include the following.

  • New box a-Employer’s name, address, and ZIP code (was box g).

  • New box b-Employer’s Federal EIN (was box d).

  • New box c-Tax year/form corrected (was box a).

  • New box d-Employee’s correct SSN (was box b).

  • New box e-Corrected SSN and/or name (was box c).

  • New box f-Employee’s previously reported SSN (was box h).

  • New box g-Employee’s previously reported name (was box i).

  • New box h-Employee’s first name and initial, Last name, and Suffix (was box e).

  • New box i-Employee’s address and ZIP code (was box f).

  • Form W-3c changes include switching the 5-digit identifying number box and box a; and moving the title directly below the form.

.02 The following changes have been made to Publication 1223 since the last revision (March 2006). The major changes include the following.

  • Revised Sections 4 and 5. Sections 4 and 5 have been revised to add information and to be more consistent with the format of Publication 1141 (General Rules and Specifications for Substitute Forms W-2 and W-3).

  • New email address. The Substitute Forms email address has changed to Substituteforms@irs.gov from *taxforms@irs.gov.

  • Address change. The room number in the address of the Substitute Forms Unit has changed to Room 6526.

  • Logos, slogans, and advertising. Forms W-2c and W-3c are subject to annual review and possible change. The IRS has postponed the prohibition against including slogans, advertising, and logos on information returns and employee copies reporting wages paid during the 2010 calendar year that was announced in Rev. Proc. 2008-33 (Publication 1141). The prohibition is now in effect for reporting wages paid in 2011 and thereafter. Do not include logos, slogans or advertising on any information returns or employee copies filed in 2011 or thereafter, except as provided in Section 6.02. This revenue procedure may be revised to state other requirements of the IRS and the SSA regarding the preparation and use of substitute forms for Form W-2c and Form W-3c at a future date. If you have comments about the prohibition against including slogans, advertising, and logos on information returns and employee copies, send or email your comments to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: Substitute Forms Program, SE:W:CAR:MP:T:T:SP, IR 6526, 1111 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20224, or Substituteforms@irs.gov.

  • SSA publication changes. A new title and number have been given to SSA Publication MMREF-2. The new number is Publication EFW2C and its title is Specifications for Filing Forms W-2c Electronically.

  • Social security room number change. The room number in the address of the Data Operations Center has changed to Room 348.

  • TDD number change. The Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) phone number at the Enterprise Computing Center - Martinsburg (ECC) has changed to 304-579-4827.

  • Revised Section 9. Section 9 has been revised to reflect changes to IRS Publication 1796.

  • Editorial changes. We made editorial changes. Redundancies were eliminated as much as possible.

Section 3 - Filing Forms W-2c and W-3c Electronically

.01 Employers must file electronically with the SSA if they file 250 or more Forms W-2c (Copy A) during a calendar year unless the IRS granted you a waiver. For details, see the Instructions for Forms W-2c and W-3c. SSA publication EFW2C, Specifications for Filing Forms W-2c Electronically, contains specifications and procedures for filing Forms W-2c. Employers are cautioned to obtain the most recent revision of EFW2C (and supplements) due to any subsequent changes in specifications and procedures.

Note

Note. For purposes of the electronic filing requirement, only Forms W-2c for the immediate prior year are taken into account.

.02 You may obtain a copy of the EFW2C by:

  • Accessing the SSA website at www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/pub.htm .

  • Writing to:

    Social Security Administration OCO, DES; Attn: Employer Reporting Services Center 300 North Greene Street Baltimore, MD 21290-0300

  • Calling your local SSA Employer Services Liaison Officer (ESLO). Their phone numbers are available at www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/empcontacts.htm .

  • Calling the SSA’s Employer Reporting Services staff at 1-800-772-6270.

.03 Electronic filers do not file a paper Form W-3c. See the SSA publication EFW2C for guidance on transmitting Form W-2c (Copy A) information to the SSA electronically.

.04 Employers with fewer than 250 Forms W-2 to be corrected are encouraged to electronically file Forms W-2c (Copy A) with the SSA. Doing so will enhance the timeliness and accuracy of forms processing.

.05 Employers who do not comply with the electronic filing requirements for Form W-2c (Copy A) and who are not granted a waiver by the IRS may be subject to penalties. Employers who file Form W-2c information with the SSA electronically must not send the same data to the SSA on paper Forms W-2c (Copy A). Any duplicate reporting may subject filers to unnecessary contacts by the SSA or the IRS.

Section 4 - Specifications for Red-Ink Substitute Forms W-2c (Copy A) and W-3c Filed With the SSA

.01 The official IRS-printed red dropout ink Form W-2c (Copy A) and W-3c and their exact substitutes are referred to as red-ink in this revenue procedure. Employers may file substitute Forms W-2c (Copy A) and W-3c with the SSA. The substitute forms must be exact replicas of the official IRS forms with respect to layout and content because they will be read by scanner equipment.

.02 Paper used for cutsheets and continuous pin-fed forms for substitute Form W-2c (Copy A) and Form W-3c that are to be filed with the SSA must be white 100% bleached chemical wood, 18-20 pound paper only, optical character recognition (OCR) bond produced in accordance with the following specifications:

Acidity: Ph value, average, not less than 4.5
Basis weight: 17 x 22 inch 500 cut sheets, pound 18-20
Metric equivalent—gm./sq. meter (a tolerance of +5 pct. is allowed) 68-75
Stiffness: Average, each direction, not less than—milligrams Cross direction Machine direction 50 80
Tearing strength: Average, each direction, not less than—grams 40
Opacity: Average, not less than—percent 82
Reflectivity: Average, not less than—percent 68
Thickness: Average—inch 0.0038
Metric equivalent—mm. (a tolerance of +0.0005 inch (0.0127 mm) is allowed) Paper cannot vary more than 0.0004 inch (0.0102 mm) from one edge to the other 0.097
Porosity: Average, not less than—seconds 10
Finish (smoothness): Average, each side—seconds 20-55
(for information only) the Sheffield equivalent—units 170-d200
Dirt: Average, each side, not to exceed—parts per million 8

Color and paper quality for Copy A (cut sheets and continuous pin-fed forms) and Form W-3c, as specified by JCP Code 0-25 dated November 29, 1978, must be white 100% bleached chemical wood, optical character recognition (OCR) bond. The contractor must initiate or have a quality control program to assure OCR ink density.

Note

Note. Reclaimed fiber in any percentage is permitted, provided the requirements of this standard are met.

.03 All printing of substitute Forms W-2c (Copy A) and W-3c must be in Flint red OCR dropout ink except as specified below. The following must be printed in nonreflective black ink:

  • Identifying number “44444” or “55555” at the top of the forms.

  • The four (4) corner register marks on the forms.

  • The form identification number (“W-3c”) at the bottom of Form W-3c.

  • All the instructions below Form W-3c beginning with “Purpose of Form” line to the bottom of Form W-3c.

.04 The vertical and horizontal spacing on Forms W-2c and W-3c must meet specifications. See Exhibits A and B.

  • On Form W-3c and Form W-2c (Copy A), all the perimeter rules must be 1-point (0.014-inch), while all other rules must be one-half point (0.007-inch). Vertical rules must be parallel to the left edge of the form; horizontal rules parallel to the top edge.

  • The left and top margins on Form W-2c (Copy A) and Form W-3c must be .5 inches. The width of a substitute Form W-2c (Copy A) or W-3c must be 7.5 inches. See Exhibits A and B.

  • Each column on Form W-2c (Copy A) and Form W-3c must measure 1.9 inches in width .

.05 The official red-ink Form W-3c and Form W-2c (Copy A) are 7.5 inches wide. Employers filing Forms W-2c (Copy A) with the SSA on paper must also file a Form W-3c. Form W-3c must be the same width (7.5 inches) as the Form W-2c. One Form W-2c or Form W-3c is contained on a standard-size, 8.5 x 11-inch page.

.06 The top, left, and right margins for the Form W-2c (Copy A) and Form W-3c are .5 inches (1/2 inch). All margins must be free of printing except for the words “DO NOT CUT, FOLD, OR STAPLE THIS FORM” on red-ink Form W-2c (Copy A) or “DO NOT CUT, FOLD, OR STAPLE” on red-ink Form W-3c.

.07 The identifying numbers are “44444” for Form W-2c and “55555” for Form W-3c. No printing should appear anywhere near the identifying numbers.

Note

Note. The identifying number must be printed in nonreflective black ink in OCR-A font of 10 characters per inch.

.08 Continuous pin-fed Forms W-2c (Copy A) must be separated into 11-inch deep pages. The pin-fed strips must be removed when Forms W-2c (Copy A) are filed with the SSA.

.09 Box 12 of Form W-2c (Copy A) contains four entry boxes - 12a, 12b, 12c, and 12d. Do not make more than one entry per box. Enter your first code in box 12a (for example, enter Code D in box 12a, not 12d, if it is your first entry). If more than four items need to be reported in box 12, use a second Form W-2c to report the additional items. Do not report the same federal tax data to the SSA on more than one Form W-2c (Copy A). However, repeat the identifying information (employee’s name, address, and SSN; employer’s name, address, and EIN) on each additional form.

.10 The checkboxes in box 13 of Form W-2c (Copy A) must be .14 inches each; the space before the first checkbox is .20 inches; the spacing on each remaining side of the three checkboxes is .36 inches. The checkboxes in box c of Form W-3c must also be .14 inches.

Note

Note. More than 50% of an applicable checkbox must be covered by an “X.”

.11 All substitute Forms W-2c (Copy A) and W-3c in the red-ink format must have the form number and form title printed on the bottom face of each form using identical type or a close approximation to that of the official IRS form. The red-ink substitute must have the form producer’s (not the form filer’s) EIN entered in red in place of the Cat. No. (directly to the left of “Department of the Treasury” for Form W-2c (Copy A) and at the bottom for Form W-3c).

.12 The words “For Privacy Act and Paperwork Reduction Act Notice, see separate instructions.” must be printed on all Forms W-2c (Copy A) and Forms W-3c.

.13 The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Number must be printed on substitute Forms W-3c and W-2c (on each ply) in the same location as on the official IRS forms.

.14 All substitute Forms W-3c must include the instructions that are printed on the same sheet below the official IRS form.

.15 The appropriate SSA addresses must be printed on the front of Form W-3c below the body of the form (see Exhibit B).

  • If you use the U.S. Postal Service, the address is:

    Social Security Administration Data Operations Center P.O. Box 3333 Wilkes-Barre, PA 18767-3333.

  • If you use a carrier other than the U.S. Postal Service, the address is:

    Social Security Administration Data Operations Center Attn: W-2c Process 1150 E. Mountain Drive Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702-7997.

.16 The back of substitute Form W-2c (Copy A) and Form W-3c must be free of all printing.

.17 All copies must be clearly legible. Fading must be minimized to assure legibility.

.18 Chemical transfer paper is permitted for Form W-2c (Copy A) only if the following standards are met:

  • Only chemically-backed paper is acceptable for Form W-2c (Copy A). Front and back chemically-treated paper cannot be processed properly by scanning equipment.

  • Chemically-transferred images must be black.

  • Carbon-coated forms are not permitted.

.19 The Government Printing Office (GPO) symbol and the Catalog Number (Cat. No.) must be deleted from substitute Form W-2c (Copy A) and Form W-3c.

.20 The sequence for assembling the copies of Form W-2c is as follows.

  • Copy A — For Social Security Administration

  • Copy 1 — State, City, or Local Tax Department

  • Copy B — To Be Filed with Employee’s FEDERAL Tax Return

  • Copy C — For EMPLOYEE’s RECORDS

  • Copy 2 — To Be Filed with Employee’s State, City, or Local Income Tax Return

  • Copy D — For Employer

Section 5 - Specifications for Laser-Printed Substitute Forms W-2c (Copy A) and W-3c Filed With the SSA

.01 The SSA-approved, laser-printed, black-and-white Forms W-2c (Copy A) and W-3c are referred to as laser-printed. Specifications for the laser-printed (black-and-white) Forms W-2c (Copy A) and W-3c are similar to the red-ink forms (Section 4) except for the items that follow (see Exhibits C and D). You may contact the SSA via email at laser.forms@ssa.gov for more information.

Note

Note. Exhibits are samples only and must not be downloaded to meet tax obligations.

  1. Forms must be printed on 81/2 x 11-inch single-sheet paper only, not on continuous-feed using a laser printer. There must be one Form W-2c (Copy A) or W-3c printed on a page.

  2. All forms and data must be printed in nonreflective black ink only.

  3. The data and forms must be programmed to print simultaneously. Forms cannot be produced separately from wage data entries.

  4. The forms must not contain corner register marks.

  5. The forms must not contain any shaded areas including those boxes that are entirely shaded on the red-ink forms.

  6. Identifying numbers on both Form W-2c (“44444”) and Form W-3c (“55555”) must be preprinted in 14-point Arial bold font or a close approximation.

  7. The form numbers (“W-2c” and “W-3c”) must be in 18-point Arial font or a close approximation.

  8. No part of the box titles or the data printed on the forms may touch any of the vertical or horizontal lines, nor should any of the data intermingle with the box titles. The data should be centered in the boxes.

  9. Do not print any information in the margins of the laser-printed forms (for example, do not print “DO NOT CUT, FOLD, OR STAPLE” in the top margin of Form W-3c).

  10. The word “Code” must not appear in box 12 on Form W-2c (Copy A).

  11. A 4-digit vendor code (not filer code) preceded by four zeros and a slash (for example, 0000/9876) must appear in 12-point Arial font, or a close approximation, in the middle below the title on Form W-2c (Copy A) and in the bottom right corner of Form W-3c. See Exhibits C and D.

    Note

    Note. Do not display the form producer’s EIN. The vendor code will be used to identify the form producer.

  12. Do not print Catalog Numbers (Cat. No.) on either Form W-2c (Copy A) or Form W-3c.

  13. Do not print the checkboxes in:

    • Box c or the “Yes/No” area above the signature area of Form W-3c. The “X” should be programmed to be printed and centered directly below the applicable “Kind of Payer” in box c. The “X”s for the “Yes/No” area above the signature area should be programmed to be printed before “Yes” or “No.”

    • Box e or Box 13 of Form W-2c (Copy A). The “X” should be programmed to be printed and centered in the same location as the checkbox in Box e or directly below the applicable box title in Box 13.

  14. Do not print dollar signs. If there are no money amounts being reported, the entire field should be left blank.

.02 The dimensions for the laser-printed Forms W-2c (Copy A) and W-3c are as follows. See Exhibits C and D.

  1. The left and top margins on Form W-2c (Copy A) and Form W-3c must measure 1/2 (.5) inch.

  2. The distance from the top line of Form W-3c to the bottom line of the form must measure 71/6 (7.17) inches.

  3. The distance from the top line of Form W-2c (Copy A) to the bottom line of the form must measure 91/3 (9.33) inches.

  4. Each box on Form W-2c (Copy A) and Form W-3c must measure 1/3 (.33) inch in height.

  5. Box b on Form W-3c must measure 5/6 (.83) inch in height.

  6. Box a on Form W-2c (Copy A) must measure 11/3 (1.33) inches in height and box 14 must measure 5/6 (.83) inch in height.

  7. Each column on Form W-2c (Copy A) and Form W-3c must measure 19/10 (1.9) inches in width.

  8. The “Explain decreases here” box and the “Signature” box on Form W-3c must measure 1/2 (.5) inches in height.

.03 You must submit samples of your laser-printed substitute forms to the SSA. Only laser-printed, black-and-white substitute Forms W-2c (Copy A) and W-3c will be accepted for approval by the SSA. Questions regarding other forms (that is, red-ink Forms W-2, W-2c, W-3, W-3c, 1099 series, 1096, etc.) must be directed to the IRS. Also see IRS Publications 1141 and 1179.

.04 You will be required to send one set of blank and one set of dummy-data, laser-printed substitute Forms W-2c (Copy A) and W-3c for approval. Do not use live taxpayer information. Sample data entries should be filled in to the maximum length for each box entry, preferably using numeric data or alpha data, depending upon the type required to be entered. Include in your submission the name, telephone number, fax number, and email address of a contact person who can answer questions regarding your sample forms.

.05 To receive approval, you may first contact the SSA at laser.forms@ssa.gov to obtain a template and further instructions in PDF or Excel format. You may also send your sample, laser-printed substitute forms to:

Social Security Administration Data Operations Center Attn: Laser Forms Approval, Room 348 1150 E. Mountain Drive Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702-7997

Send your sample forms via private mail carrier or certified mail in order to verify their receipt. You can expect approval (or disapproval) by the SSA within 30 days of receipt of your sample forms.

.06 The 4-digit vendor code preceded by four zeros and a slash (0000/9876) must be preprinted on the sample, laser-printed substitute forms. Forms not containing a vendor code will be rejected and will not be submitted for testing or approval. If you have a valid vendor code provided to you through the National Association of Computerized Tax Processors, you should use that code. If you do not have a valid vendor code, contact the Social Security Administration at laser.forms@ssa.gov to obtain an SSA-issued code. (Additional information on vendor codes may be obtained from the SSA or the National Association of Computerized Tax Processors via email at president@nactp.org.)

Note

Note. Vendor codes are only required by those companies producing the W-2 family of forms as part of a product for resale to be used by multiple employers and payroll professionals. Employers developing Forms W-2c or W-3c to be used only for their individual company do not require a vendor code.

.07 If you use forms produced by a vendor and have questions concerning approval, do not send the forms to the SSA for approval. Instead, you may contact the software vendor to obtain a copy of SSA’s dated approval notice supplied to that vendor.

Section 6 - Requirements for Substitute Privately-Printed Forms W-2c (Copies B, C, and 2) Furnished to Employees

.01 All employers (including those who file electronically) must furnish employees with at least two copies of Form W-2c (three or more for employees required to file a state, city, or local income tax return). Employee copies do not require approval as long as the requirements are followed.

Note

Note. Although substitute Copy 1 of Form W-2c can be printed in black instead of the red dropout ink, it should conform as closely as possible to Copy A of the official IRS form in content, format, and layout in order to satisfy state and local reporting requirements.

.02 Some Forms W-2c that include logos, slogans, and advertisements (including advertisements for tax preparation software) may be confused with questionable Forms W-2c. An employee may not recognize the importance of the employee copy for tax reporting purposes due to the use of logos, slogans, and advertisements. Starting in 2011, for wages paid during the 2011 tax year and thereafter, the IRS will not allow logos, slogans, and advertising on Forms W-3c, Copy A of Forms W-2c, or any employee copies, with the following exceptions for logos, slogans, and advertising that:

  • are the exact name of the employer or agent, primary trade name, trademark, service mark, or symbol of the employer or agent, an embossment or watermark on the information return and employee copies that is a representation of the name, a primary trade name, trademark, service mark, or symbol of the employer or agent;

  • are presented in any typeface, font, stylized fashion, or print color normally used by the employer or agent; and used in a non-intrusive manner;

  • do not materially interfere with the ability of the recipient to recognize, understand, and use the tax information on the employee copies.

  • are used on corrected information returns and employee copies reporting amounts paid before January 1, 2011.

The IRS e-file logo on the IRS official employee copies may be included, but it is not required, on any of the substitute form copies.

The information return and employee copies must clearly identify the employer’s name associated with its employer identification number.

Forms W-2c and W-3c are subject to annual review and possible change. The IRS has postponed the prohibition against including slogans, advertising, and logos on information returns and employee copies reporting wages paid during the 2010 calendar year that was announced in Rev. Proc. 2008-33 (Publication 1141) is postponed. The prohibition is now in effect for reporting wages paid in 2011 and thereafter. Do not include logos, slogans or advertising on any information returns or employee copies filed in 2011 or thereafter, except as provided above. This revenue procedure may be revised to state other requirements of the IRS and the SSA regarding the preparation and use of substitute forms for Form W-2c and Form W-3c for wages paid during the 2011 calendar year, at a future date. If you have comments about the prohibition against including slogans, advertising, and logos on information returns and employee copies, send or email your comments to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: Substitute Forms Program, SE:W:CAR:MP:T:T:SP, IR 6526, 1111 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20224 or Substituteforms@irs.gov .

.03 The paper for all copies must be white and printed in black ink. The substitute Copy B (or its equal), which employees are instructed to attach to their federal income tax returns, must be at least 9-pound paper (basis 17 x 22-500). Other copies furnished to employees should also be at least 9-pound paper/basis 17 x 22-500).

.04 Chemical transfer paper for employee copies must be clearly legible, have the capability to be photocopied, and not fade to such a degree as to preclude legibility and the ability to photocopy.

.05 Type must be substantially identical in size and shape to that on the official form.

.06 Substitute forms for employees need to contain only the payment boxes and captions that are applicable. These boxes, box numbers, and box titles must, when applicable, match the IRS-printed form. In all cases, the employee name, address, and SSN, as well as the employer name, address, and EIN, must be present.

.07 The dimensions of the boxes on these copies (Copies B, C, and 2), but not Copy A, may be adjusted to allow space for conveying additional information. This may permit the employer to eliminate other statements or notices that would otherwise be furnished to employees.

.08 The maximum allowable dimensions for employee copies of Form W-2c are no more than 11 inches deep by 8.5 inches wide. The minimum allowable dimensions for employee copies of Form W-2c are 2.67 inches deep by 4.25 inches wide.

Note

Note. These maximum and minimum size specifications are subject to future change.

.09 Either horizontal or vertical format is permitted for substitute employee copies of Forms W-2c. That is, the width of the form may be either greater or less than the depth of the form.

.10 All copies of Form W-2c must clearly and prominently display the form number and the form title together in one area of the form. It is recommended (but not required) that this be located on the bottom left of Form W-2c. The reference to the “Department of the Treasury - Internal Revenue Service” must be on all copies of Form W-2c. It is recommended (but not required) that this be located on the bottom right of Form W-2c.

.11 If the substitute Forms W-2c are not labeled as to the disposition of the copies, then written notification must be provided to each employee as specified below.

  • The first copy of Form W-2c (Copy B) is filed with the employee’s federal tax return.

  • The second copy of Form W-2c (Copy C) is for the employee’s records.

  • If applicable, the third copy (Copy 2) of Form W-2c is filed with the employee’s state, city, or local income tax return.

If the substitute Forms W-2c are labeled, the forms must contain the applicable description as stated on the official form.

.12 Instructions similar to those on the back of Form W-2c (Copy C) of the official form must be provided to each employee.

Section 7 - Instructions for Employers

.01 Privately-printed substitute Forms W-2c are not required to contain a copy to be retained by employers (Copy D). However, employers must be prepared to verify or duplicate this information if the IRS or the SSA requests it. Paper filers who do not keep Copy D of Form W-2c should be able to generate a facsimile of Form W-2c (Copy A) in case of loss.

.02 If Copy D is provided for the employer, instructions contained on the back of Copy D of the official form must appear on the back of the substitute form. If Copy D is not provided, these instructions must be furnished to the employer on a separate statement.

.03 Only originals or compliant substitute copies of Forms W-2c (Copy A) and Forms W-3c may be filed with the SSA. Photocopies are unacceptable.

.04 Employers should type or machine print entries on non-laser generated forms whenever possible and provide good quality data entries by using a high quality type face, inserting data in the middle of blocks that are well separated from other printing and guidelines, and taking any other measures that will guarantee clear, sharp images.

Note

Note. 12-point Courier font is preferred by the SSA.

.05 Because employers must file a machine-scannable Form W-2c, they should meet the following requirements.

  • Use 12-point Courier (SSA-preferred) font for data entries.

  • Proportional-spaced fonts are unacceptable.

  • Refrain from printing any data in the top margin of the forms.

.06 The employer must also furnish payee copies of Forms W-2c (Copies B, C, and 2) that are legible and capable of being photocopied (by the employee).

.07 When Forms W-2c or W-3c are typed, black ink must be used with no script type, inverted font, italics, or dual-case alpha characters.

.08 The filer’s employer identification number (EIN) must be entered in box (b) of Form W-2c and box (e) of Form W-3c.

.09 The employer’s name, address, EIN, and state ID number may be preprinted.

Section 8 - OMB Requirements for Both Red-Ink and Laser-Printed Substitute Forms

.01 The Paperwork Reduction Act (the Act) of 1995 (Public Law 104-13) requires the following.

  • The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approves all IRS tax forms that are subject to the Act.

  • Each IRS form contains the OMB approval number, if assigned. (The official OMB numbers may be found on the official IRS forms and are also shown on the forms in the exhibits.)

  • Each IRS form (or its instructions) states:

    1. Why the IRS needs the information,

    2. How it will be used, and

    3. Whether or not the information is required to be furnished to the IRS.

.02 This information must be provided to any users of official or substitute IRS forms or instructions.

.03 The OMB requirements for substitute IRS forms are the following.

  • Any substitute form or substitute statement to a recipient must show the OMB number as it appears on the official IRS form.

  • For Form W-3c and Form W-2c (Copy A), the OMB number (1545-0008) must appear exactly as shown on the official IRS form.

  • For any copy of Form W-3c or Form W-2c, other than Copy A, the OMB number must use one of the following formats.

    1. OMB No. 1545-0008 (preferred) or

    2. OMB # 1545-0008 (acceptable).

.04 Any substitute Form W-3c and Form W-2c (Copy A) must state “For Privacy Act and Paperwork Reduction Act Notice, see separate instructions.” If no instructions are provided to users of your forms, you must furnish them the exact text of the Privacy Act and Paperwork Reduction Act Notice.

Section 9 - Reproducible Copies of Forms

.01 You can obtain official IRS forms and information copies of federal tax materials at local IRS offices or by calling the IRS Distribution Center at 1-800-829-3676. Other ways to get federal tax material include the following.

  • The IRS website at www.irs.gov.

  • IRS Tax Products on DVD (Publication 1796).

Only contact the IRS, not the SSA, for forms.

Note

Note. Many IRS forms are provided on the IRS website and on the IRS Tax Products on DVD. But copies of Form W-2c (Copy A) and Form W-3c cannot be used for filing with the IRS or SSA when obtained by these methods because the forms do not meet the specific printing specifications as described in this publication. Copies of Forms W-2c and W-3c obtained from these sources are for information purposes only. Additionally, Publication 1796 does not permit electronic filing.

.02 The DVD contains approximately 2,800 tax forms and publications for small businesses, return preparers, and others who frequently need current or prior year tax products. Most current tax forms on the DVD may be filled in electronically, then printed out for submission and saved for recordkeeping. Other products on the DVD include the Internal Revenue Bulletins, Tax Supplements, and Internet resources for the tax professional with links to the World Wide Web.

For system requirements, contact the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) at http://www.ntis.gov . Prices are subject to change. The cost of the DVD if purchased from NTIS via the Internet at www.irs.gov/formspubs/article/0,,id=108660,00.html is $30 (with no handling fee). If purchased using the following methods, the cost for each DVD is $30 (plus a $5 handling fee). These methods are:

  • By phone - 1-877-CDFORMS (1-877-233-6767),

  • By fax - 703-605-6900,

  • By mail - to:

    National Technical Information Service

    5301 Shawnee Rd.

    Alexandria, VA 22312

Section 10 - Effect on Other Documents

.01 Revenue Procedure 2006-19, 2006-1 C.B. 677 (reprinted as Publication 1223, Rev. 3-2006), is superseded.

Section 11 - Exhibits

Exhibit A: Red-ink Form W-2c (Copy A)
This exhibit shows dimensions of the February 2009 Revision
of the red-ink IRS-official version of Copy A of Form W-2c for purposes
of substitute form producers and software vendors.  The exhibit applies
vertical and horizontal rules to the official IRS over-the-counter
paper version of the form to indicate the size and location of various
items on the form.
Exhibit B: Red-ink Form W-3c
This exhibit shows dimensions of the February 2009 Revision
of the red-ink IRS-official version of Form W-3c for purposes of substitute
form producers and software vendors.  The exhibit applies vertical
and horizontal rules to the official IRS over-the-counter paper version
of the form to indicate the size and location of various items on
the form.
Exhibit C: Laser-print Form W-2c (Copy A) - See Section 5
This exhibit shows dimensions of the February 2009 Revision
of the SSA laser-print version of Copy A of Form W-2c for purposes
of substitute form producers and software vendors.  The exhibit applies
vertical and horizontal rules to the official IRS over-the-counter
paper version of the form to indicate the size and location of various
items on the form.
Exhibit D: Laser-print Form W-3c - See Section 5
This exhibit shows dimensions of the February 2009 Revision
of the SSA laser-print version of Form W-3c for purposes of substitute
form producers and software vendors.  The exhibit applies vertical
and horizontal rules to the official IRS over-the-counter paper version
of the form to indicate the size and location of various items on
the form.

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