Topic no. 752, Filing Forms W-2 and W-3

Form W-2

Employers must complete, file electronically or by mail with the Social Security Administration (SSA), and furnish to their employees Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement showing the wages paid and taxes withheld for the year for each employee. Because employees' social security and Medicare benefits are computed based on information on Form W-2, it's very important to prepare Form W-2 correctly and timely.

Form W-3

Anyone required to file Form(s) W-2 must also file Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements to transmit Copy A of Form W-2 to the SSA. The totals for amounts reported on related employment tax forms (Form 941Form 943Form 944, or Schedule H (Form 1040), for the year) should agree with the amounts reported on Form W-3. If you have questions about a particular box on Forms W-2 or W-3, refer to the General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3, for a detailed explanation of each box. Be sure to order Form W-3 when you order Forms W-2.

When you e-file your Form(s) W-2 with the SSA, no Form W-3 filing is required. Their W-2 Online service will create an electronic Form W-3 for you.

When to file

You must submit by mail or electronically Copy A of Form(s) W-2 to the SSA with the transmittal Form W-3 by January 31, 2024. Special due dates apply if you have terminated your business.

You must furnish Copies B, C, and 2 of Form W-2 to your employees by January 31, 2024. You'll meet the furnish requirement if the form is properly addressed and mailed on or before the due date. If an employee stops working for you before the end of the year, you may give your former employee Form W-2 any time prior to, but no later than January 31, 2024. If your employee asks for the Form W-2, you must give your employee Copies B, C, and 2 within 30 days of the request or within 30 days of the final wage payment, whichever is later.

Electronic filing requirement

Employers filing 10 or more information returns, including Forms W-2, must file electronically unless granted a waiver by the IRS. All employers are encouraged to file Forms W-2 electronically. For more information on electronic filing, refer to the General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3 and Topic no. 801Topic no. 802 and Topic no. 803. You may obtain additional information on electronic filing of Forms W-2 and W-3 from the SSA's Business Services Online (BSO) or by calling 800-772-6270 (TTY 800-325-0778).

Filing by mail

The official Form W-2 is available as a multi-copy form packet. The form packet provides all six copies that the user may need for each Form W-2 (Copy A, Copy 1, Copy B, Copy C, Copy 2, and Copy D). The address for mailing Copy A of the Form(s) W-2 and Form W-3 is also listed in the General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3PDF. The Form W-3 and Copy A of each Form W-2 that you send to the SSA must be on official red-ink versions (or approved substitute versions) and can be ordered online or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). Refer to the General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3 for additional information.

Make a copy of Form W-3 and a copy of each Form W-2 (Copy A or Copy D) to keep for your records for at least 4 years.

Send Copy 1, if applicable, to your state, city, or local tax department. Contact that state, city, or local tax department for requirements and transmittal information.

Preparing Form W-2

  • Type all entries using black ink and, if possible, in a 12-point Courier font. Entries are read by machine. Handwritten, script, or italicized fonts are discouraged. Entries made in other than black ink can't be read.
  • Make all dollar entries without the dollar sign and comma but with the decimal point (00000.00). Show the cents portion of the money amounts; use zeros for no cents.
  • Don't make any erasures, cross-outs, or whiteouts. Copy A must be error-free. If you make an error, put an "X" in the "VOID" box, use the next Form W-2, and start again. Don't write "corrected" on the next Form W-2.
  • Because Form W-2 is printed with two forms on a single page, send in the whole Copy A page (the page printed with red ink) to the SSA even if one form is blank or void. Don't cut or fold the page. Don't staple Forms W-2 to each other or to Form W-3.
  • If a box doesn't apply, leave it blank.

Making corrections

If you discover an error on an employee's Form W-2 after sending it to the SSA, submit a Form W-2c, Corrected Wage and Tax Statement. Include Form W-3c, Transmittal of Corrected Wage and Tax Statements whenever you file a Form(s) W-2c by mail with the SSA. Form W-2c corrections can be made electronically to Forms W-2 filed using Business Services Online (BSO).

Additional information