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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