New due date for filing with SSA.
The due date for filing 2016 Forms W-2, W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, W-2VI, W-3 and W-3SS with the SSA is now January 31,
2017, whether you file using paper forms or electronically.
Extensions of time to file.
Extensions of time to file Form W-2 with the SSA are no longer automatic. For filings due on or after January 1, 2017,
you may request one 30-day extension to file Form W-2 by submitting a complete application on Form 8809, Application for Extension
of Time to File Information Returns, including a detailed explanation of why you need additional time and signed under penalties
of perjury. The IRS will only grant the extension in extraordinary circumstances or catastrophe. See Extension to file
for more information. This does not affect extensions of time to furnish Forms W-2 to employees. See Extension of time to furnish Forms W-2 to employees
for more information.
Higher penalties apply for:
Failure to file correct Forms W-2 by the due date,
Intentional disregard of filing requirements,
Failure to furnish Forms W-2, and
Intentional disregard of payee statement requirements.
The higher penalty amounts apply to returns required to be filed after December 31, 2015 and are indexed for inflation. See
for more information.
New penalty safe harbor.
Forms W-2 with incorrect dollar amounts may fall under a new safe harbor for certain de minimis errors. See Penalties
for more information.
For federal tax purposes, marriages of couples of the same sex are treated the same as marriages of couples of the
opposite sex. The term “spouse
” includes an individual married to a person of the same sex. However, individuals who have entered into a registered domestic
partnership, civil union, or other similar relationship that is not considered a marriage under state law are not considered
married for federal tax purposes. For more information, see Revenue Ruling 2013-17, 2013-38 I.R.B. 201, available at https://www.irs.gov/irb/2013-38_IRB/ar07.html
. Notice 2013-61 provides special administrative procedures for employers to make claims for refunds or adjustments of overpayments
of social security and Medicare taxes with respect to certain same-sex spouse benefits before expiration of the period of
limitations. Notice 2013-61, 2013-44 I.R.B. 432 is available at https://www.irs.gov/irb/2013-44_IRB/ar10.html
Third-party sick pay recap reporting.
See Form 8922, Third-Party Sick Pay Recap.
Get it done faster...
E-file your Forms W-2 and W-2c with the SSA. See E-filing.
Rejected wage reports from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The SSA will reject Form W-2 electronic and paper wage reports under the following conditions:
Medicare wages and tips are less than the sum of social security wages and social security tips,
Social security tax is greater than zero; social security wages and social security tips are equal to zero, and
Medicare tax is greater than zero; Medicare wages and tips are equal to zero.
Additionally, Forms W-2 and W-2c electronic and paper wage reports for household employers will be rejected under
the following conditions:
The sum of social security wages and social security tips is less than the minimum yearly earnings subject to social security
and Medicare tax withholding for a household employee, and
The Medicare wages and tips are less than the minimum yearly earnings subject to social security and Medicare tax withholding
for a household employee.
If the above conditions occur in an electronic wage report, the SSA will notify the submitter by email or postal mail
to correct the report and resubmit it to the SSA. If the above conditions occur in a paper wage report, the SSA will notify
the employer by email or postal mail to correct the report and resubmit it to the SSA.
Do not write “corrected” or “amended” on any resubmitted reports.
Household employers, see Pub. 926, Household Employer's Tax Guide.
Social security numbers.
Do not truncate social security numbers shown on Forms W-2, W-2AS, W-2GU, and W-2VI. Social security numbers are required
on Forms W-2. See Taxpayer identification numbers
, later. See also Regulations section 301.6109-(4)(b)(2).
Filers of other forms, such as certain Forms 1099/1098, may truncate the social security number (XXX-XX-4567) to combat
Limit on health flexible spending arrangement (FSA).
For 2016, a cafeteria plan may not allow an employee to request salary reduction contributions for a health FSA in
excess of $2,550. The salary reduction contribution limitation of $2,550 does not include any amount (up to $500) carried
over from a previous year. For more information, see Health flexible spending arrangement (FSA).
Additional Medicare Tax.
In addition to withholding Medicare tax at 1.45%, an employer is required to withhold a 0.9% Additional Medicare Tax
on any Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) wages or Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA) compensation it pays to an employee
in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year. An employer is required to begin withholding Additional Medicare Tax in the pay
period in which it pays wages or compensation in excess of $200,000 to an employee and continue to withhold it until the end
of the calendar year. Additional Medicare Tax is only imposed on the employee. There is no employer share of Additional Medicare
Tax. All wages and compensation that are subject to Medicare tax are subject to Additional Medicare Tax withholding if paid
in excess of the $200,000 withholding threshold.
For more information on Additional Medicare Tax, go to IRS.gov and enter “Additional Medicare Tax
” in the search box.
Unless otherwise noted, references to Medicare tax include Additional Medicare Tax.
Business Services Online (BSO).
The SSA has enhanced its secure BSO website to make it easier to register and navigate. Use BSO’s online fill-in forms to
create, save, and submit Forms W-2 and W-2c to the SSA electronically. BSO lets you print copies of these forms to file with
state or local governments, distribute to your employees, and keep for your records. BSO generates Form W-3 automatically
based on your Forms W-2. You also can use BSO to upload wage files to the SSA, check on the status of previously submitted
wage reports, and take advantage of other convenient services for employers and businesses. Visit the SSA’s Employer W-2 Filing
Instructions & Information website at www.socialsecurity.gov/employer
for more information about using BSO to save time for your organization. Here you also will find forms and publications used
for wage reporting, information about verifying employee social security numbers online, how to reach an SSA employer services
representative for your region, and more.
Preview BSO by viewing a brief online tutorial. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov/employer and select “Business Services Online Tutorial” under “Handbooks, Tutorials & Videos.”
You can use BSO to create, save, print, and submit Forms W-2c, Corrected Wage and Tax Statement, online for the current year
as well as for prior years. After logging into BSO, navigate to the Electronic Wage Reporting home page and click on the “Forms W-2c/W-3c Online” tab. Also, see E-filing and E-filing Forms W-2c and W-3c.
Tax relief for victims of terrorist attacks.
Disability payments for injuries incurred as a direct result of a terrorist attack directed against the United States
(or its allies) are not included in income. Because federal income tax withholding is only required when a payment is includable
in income, no federal income tax should be withheld from these payments.
Distributions from governmental section 457(b) plans of state and local agencies.
Generally, report distributions from section 457(b) plans of state and local agencies on Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions,
Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc. See Notice 2003-20 on page 894 of Internal
Revenue Bulletin 2003-19 at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-irbs/irb03-19.pdf
Earned income credit (EIC) notice (not applicable to Forms W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, and W-2VI).
You must notify employees who have no income tax withheld that they may be able to claim an income tax refund because of the
EIC. You can do this by using the official Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-2 with the EIC notice on the back of Copy
B or a substitute Form W-2 with the same statement. You must give your employee Notice 797, Possible Federal Tax Refund Due
to the Earned Income Credit (EIC), or your own statement that contains the same wording if (a) you use a substitute Form W-2
that does not contain the EIC notice, (b) you are not required to furnish Form W-2, or (c) you do not furnish a timely Form
W-2 to your employee. For more information, see section 10 in Pub. 15 (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide.
Electronic statements for employees.
Furnishing Copies B, C, and 2 of Forms W-2 to your employees electronically may save you time and effort. See Pub. 15-A, Employer's
Supplemental Tax Guide, Furnishing Form W-2 to employees electronically,
for additional information.
The SSA encourages all employers to e-file
. E-filing can save you time and effort and helps ensure accuracy. You must e-file
if you are required to file 250 or more Forms W-2 or W-2c. If you are required to e-file
but fail to do so, you may incur a penalty.
January 31 due date for e-filers.
The due date for e-filing 2016 Form W-2 with the SSA is January 31, 2017.
You can request a waiver from this requirement by filing Form 8508, Request for Waiver From Filing Information Returns Electronically.
Submit Form 8508 to the IRS at least 45 days before the due date of Form W-2, or 45 days before you file your first Form W-2c.
See Form 8508 for information about filing this form.
The SSA’s BSO website makes e-filing easy by providing two ways to submit your Forms W-2 or W-2c Copy A and Forms W-3 or W-3c
If you need to file 50 or fewer Forms W-2 or 25 or fewer Forms W-2c at a time, you can use BSO to create them online. BSO
guides you through the process of creating Forms W-2 or W-2c, saving and printing them, and submitting them to the SSA when
you are ready. You do not have to wait until you have submitted Forms W-2 or W-2c to the SSA before printing copies for your
employees. BSO generates Form W-3 or W-3c automatically based on your Forms W-2 or W-2c.
If you need to file more than 50 Forms W-2 or more than 25 Forms W-2c, BSO’s “file upload” feature might be the best e-filing method for your business or organization. To obtain file format specifications, visit
the SSA’s Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information website at www.socialsecurity.gov/employer, select “Publications & Forms”, click on “Specifications for Filing Forms W-2 and W-2c Electronically (EFW2/EFW2C)”, and select the appropriate document. This information is also available by calling the SSA’s Employer Reporting Service
Center at 1-800-772-6270 (toll free).
If you e-file, do not file the same returns using paper forms.
For more information about e-filing Forms W-2 or W-2c and a link to the BSO website, visit the SSA’s Employer W-2 Filing Instructions
& Information website at www.socialsecurity.gov/employer.
In a few situations, reporting instructions vary depending on the filing method you choose. For example, you can include every
type of box 12 amount in one employee wage record if you upload an electronic file. If you file on paper or create Forms W-2
online, you can include only four box 12 amounts per Form W-2. See the TIP for Box 12—Codes under Specific Instructions for Form W-2.
Use the “944
” checkbox in box b of Form W-3 or Form W-3SS if you filed Form 944, Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return. Also use the “944
” checkbox if you filed Formulario 944(SP), the Spanish-language version of Form 944.
Forms W-2 for U.S. possessions.
In these instructions, reference to Forms W-2 and W-3 includes Forms W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, W-2VI, and W-3SS, unless otherwise
noted. These instructions are not applicable to wage and tax statements for Puerto Rico. Form W-2AS is used to report American
Samoa wages paid by American Samoa employers, Form W-2CM is used to report the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
(CNMI) wages paid by CNMI employers, Form W-2GU is used to report Guam wages paid by Guam employers, and Form W-2VI is used
to report U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) wages paid by USVI employers. Do not use these forms to report wages subject to U.S.
income tax withholding. Instead, use Form W-2 to show U.S. income tax withheld.
Treatment of military differential pay.
Employers paying their employees while they are on active duty in the United States uniformed services should treat these
payments as wages subject to income tax withholding. See Military differential pay
under Specific Instructions for Form W-2
Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (MSRRA).
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, Guam, 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.
Nonqualified deferred compensation plans.
You are not required to complete box 12 with code Y (Deferrals under a section 409A nonqualified deferred compensation
plan). Section 409A provides that all amounts deferred under a nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plan for all tax
years are includible in gross income unless certain requirements are satisfied. See Nonqualified deferred compensation plans
under Special Reporting Situations for Form W-2
Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Reporting Example Chart.
Reporting aid charts.
To aid in reporting, a Form W-2 Box 13 Retirement Plan Checkbox Decision Chart
and a Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Reporting Example Chart
have been added to these instructions. See pages 28 and 29.
Reporting the cost of group health insurance coverage.
You must report the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage in box 12 using code DD. However, transitional relief applies
to certain employers and certain types of plans. For more information, see Box 12—Codes
for Code DD—Cost of employer-sponsored health coverage.
Severance payments are wages subject to social security and Medicare taxes. As noted in section 15 of Pub. 15 (Circular
E), severance payments are also subject to income tax withholding and FUTA tax.
You may use an acceptable substitute form instead of an official IRS form.
If you are not using the official IRS form to furnish Form W-2 to employees or to file with the SSA, you may use an acceptable
substitute form that complies with the rules in Pub. 1141, General Rules and Specifications for Substitute Forms W-2 and W-3.
Pub. 1141 is a revenue procedure that explains the requirements for format and content of substitute Forms W-2 and W-3. Your
substitute forms must comply with the requirements in Pub. 1141.
Pub. 1141 prohibits advertising on Form W-2. You must not include advertising on any copy of Form W-2, including coupons providing
discounts on tax preparation services attached to the employee copies. See Pub. 1141 for further information.
If you are not using the official IRS form to furnish Form W-2c to employees or to file with the SSA, you may use an acceptable
substitute form that complies with the rules in Pub. 1223, General Rules and Specifications for Substitute Forms W-2c and
W-3c. Pub. 1223 is a revenue procedure that explains the requirements for format and content of substitute Forms W-2c and
W-3c. Your substitute forms must comply with the requirements in Pub. 1223.
Pub. 1223 prohibits advertising on Form W-2c. You must not include advertising on any copy of Form W-2c, including coupons
providing discounts on tax preparation services attached to the employee copies. See Pub. 1223 for further information.