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What is the deadline for employers to send W-2 forms for employees?

Employers must provide an overview of employees’ annual income to help with their filing and judge eligibility for Social Security and Medicare benefits.

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With tax season 2023 now well underway an estimated 168 million Americans will be starting to prepare the various forms and filings required for the tax returns. However there are also some documents that employers must submit and the deadline for one of these, the W-2 form, has nearly passed.

The W-2 tax form details the income earned by each employee over the past year, including the amount of taxes withheld from the year’s paychecks and any benefits provided. This form is intended to help the employee file both state and federal taxes.

The deadline for the employer to submit these vital forms is Tuesday, 31 January, to ensure that the employee has plenty of time to file their own tax returns before the 18 April deadline.

W-2 forms as an employer

Filing a W-2 form on behalf of all workers is a key responsibility for employers around tax filing time, with the completed forms to be submitted to both the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the IRS by 31 January at the latest. Businesses can apply for a 30-day extension with a Form 8809 if required provided they meet at least one of the criteria for extenuating circumstances.

Employers can file with the IRS and SSA either electronically or by mail, and a copy of the W-2 form will then be sent to employees. For more information on how to submit the form, check out Where and When to File from the IRS.

W-2 forms as an employee

You should receive a completed W-2 before the end of January, so if you have still not received one by early February then you should contact your employer. If you are still waiting for the paper version to arrive in the mail, your employer may be able to give you access to an electronic version to help with your filing.

If you notice an error in your W-2, anything from a misspelled name to an incorrect income amount, let your employers know as soon as possible and ask for it to be corrected. Failure to do so could cause issues if you then base your own personal tax filing off the incorrect data.

In its guidance for W-2 form filers, the IRS states: “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.”


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