IRS to employers: Remember February 1, 2021 deadline for Form W-2, other wage statements

IR-2020-269, December 3, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded employers that they must file Form W-2 and other wage statements by February 1, 2021, to avoid penalties and help the IRS prevent fraud.

A 2015 law made it a permanent requirement that employers file copies of their Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statements, and Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, with the Social Security Administration by January 31. That is also the date the Forms W-2 are due to workers. This upcoming tax season, however, January 31 falls on a Sunday, pushing the due dates to the next business day, which is Monday, February 1.

Certain Forms 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income and Forms 1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation, are also normally due to taxpayers on January 31, but this tax season they too will be due on the next business day, February 1, 2021. Various other due dates related to Form 1099-MISC, including dates due to the IRS, can be found in the instructions on IRS.gov.

Helping fraud detection

The normal January filing date for wage statements means that the IRS can more easily detect refund fraud by verifying income that individuals report on their tax returns. Employers can help support that process, and avoid penalties, by filing the forms on time and without errors. The IRS recommends e-file as the quickest, most accurate and convenient way to file these forms.

Start early

Good preparation now can help businesses avoid problems later. For instance, employers can get an early start verifying or updating employee information like names, addresses and Social Security numbers or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers. They should also ensure their company's account information is current and active with the Social Security Administration before January. Businesses should also order paper Forms W-2 early if needed.

Automatic extensions of time to file Forms W-2 are not available. The IRS will only grant extensions for very specific reasons. Details can be found on the instructions for Form 8809, Application for Time to File Information Returns.

For more information, read the instructions for Forms W-2 & W-3 and the Information Return Penalties page at IRS.gov.