SSA Updates Social Security Taxable Wage Base for 2018

By Joshua A. Diveley

In October, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced an adjustment to the Social Security taxable wage base to take effect in January based on an increase in average wages. Based on the wage data Social Security had as of October 13, 2017, the Social Security taxable wage base was set to increase to $128,700 in 2018, from $127,200 in 2017. Based on newly released data obtained by SSA, the new Social Security taxable wage base for 2018 is $128,400.

This lower taxable amount is due to corrected W2s provided to Social Security in late October 2017 by a national payroll service provider. Approximately 500,000 corrections for W2s from 2016 were received by SSA and resulted in the downward adjustment for 2018.

For more information about the updated 2018 taxable maximum amount, please visit


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Preparing for January 31st Deadline to File W-2s

Effective for wages paid in 2016, recent federal law requires employers to file W-2s with the Social Security Administration by January 31,, 2017.  Employers are familiar with the January 31st deadline for providing copies of the W-2s to employees; however, previously, employers had until the end of March for electronic filings with the Social Security Administration. The earlier filing deadline is part of the increased focus on detecting and preventing refund fraud.

A 30-day extension is still available; however, the extension is not automatic and is generally only granted under extraordinary circumstances, such as a natural disaster. Applications for extensions are submitted on Form 8809.

Employers must be aware of the filing deadline to avoid penalties, which are determined as follows:

  • $50 per Form W-2 if you correctly file within 30 days of the due date;
  • $100 per Form W-2 if you correctly file more than 30 days after the due date but by August 1; or
  • $260 per Form W-2 if you file after August 1, do not file corrections, or do not file required Forms W-2.

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IRS Announces “Taxes. Security. Together.”

On November 19, 2015, the IRS announced the newest campaign to help protect taxpayer information, “Taxes. Security. Together.” The campaign is a public awareness campaign aimed at encouraging taxpayers to protect personal and financial data. This effort comes as a result of the recent Security Summit which was the collaboration of the IRS, states, and members of the tax industry.

The campaign will complement the IRS’s own efforts to protect personal data by providing taxpayers with information about how they can protect their own sensitive information. Through April 2016, Taxpayers should expect to see YouTube videos, weekly tax tips, and local events across the county. A new tax tip will be published each Monday through the start of the tax season in January.

Within the announcement, the IRS provided some simple efforts for taxpayers to protect data:

• Utilize security software and other efforts to protect computes. This includes firewalls, anti-virus protection, file encryption, and strong passwords
• Be aware of email and phone scams. Taxpayers should be aware of the various efforts identity thieves are using to steal names, Social Security numbers, passwords, credit card numbers and bank information. The IRS has recently warned of emails, calls and text message. For our blog regarding these scams, see IRS Warns of Tax Scams, available at
• Protect personal information: The IRS reminds taxpayers not to routinely carry Social Security cards and the dispose of old tax returns or client copies provided by preparers. Taxpayers should consider checking credit reports and Social Security Administration accounts to monitor for fraudulent activity.

For additional information about the announcements following the Security Summit, see our previous blog post, New Efforts by the IRS to Detect Identity Theft, available at

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