E-Filing Forms W-2 and 1099-MISC

Filing Electronically
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Wage and payment forms for employees (on Form W-2) and non-employees (on Form 1099-MISC) must be submitted to the individual or business by the end of January and submitted to the appropriate federal agency before the end of February. Here are the specific filing due dates for Form W-2 and 1099 forms for the current year. 

Before you send off those forms, consider e-filing.

UPDATE: New Deadline for Filing W-2s and 1099s

Effective with the 2016 tax year, all W-2s and 1099s must be filed by January 31 of the next year. So, for 2017 taxes, these forms must be filed by January 31, 2018. The filing deadlines have been moved up in order to better monitor forms for tax fraud. The deadline is the same for all filings, including e-filing. 

This article discusses how to file and presents some of the benefits of e-filing.

Benefits of E-Filing

  • E-filing, according to the IRS, saves time and effort and helps ensure accuracy.
  • If you e-file W-2 forms, you don't need to calculate and submit a W-3 transmittal form; the Social Security Administration generates a W-3 automatically.
  • If you e-file 1099 forms, you don't need to calculate and submit a 1096 form for each type of 1099 form.
  • You can use the BSO site to verify Social Security Numbers for wage reporting purposes. Verifying Social Security numbers assures that wages are reported correctly and it avoids costly W-2C forms to correct W-2s,
  • The BSO site offers a tutorial, handbooks, a checklist and lots of other useful information to help you e-file those W-2 forms.
  • If you find a mistake in one or more W-2 forms after you have submitted them, you can also submit W-2c (corrected) forms online.
  • You can verify that your files have been received and check the status online.

Filing W-2 Forms with the Social Security Administration

You must submit all 2017 W-2s to the Social Security Administration (NOT the IRS!), along with transmittal form W-3, by January 31, 2018.

The SSA's Business Services Online (BSO) is the place to go for e-filing W-2's. If you are filing 250 or more W-2 forms, you MUST e-file, but if you have fewer than 250 W-2s, you can benefit from e-filing.

What about 1099-MISC forms? Can I e-file those forms too?

You can submit all 1099 forms, including Form 1099-MISC, to the IRS by mail or online, using the Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) system.

If you are not submitting electronically, you must also submit a transmittal form 1096, one for each type of 1099 you are submitting, which summarizes all the forms for that category. This is another benefit to e-filing: no 1096 required.

For filing 1099 forms electronically, be sure to file IRS Form 4419, the application to file electronically, at least 30 days before the due date of the forms, and read the IRS information on the requirements for filing with the FIRE system.

Remember these important dates:

See this article for the current year filing deadlines.

In general, by the end of January: 

  • You must W-2 forms to employees and 1099-MISC forms to non-employees.
  • You must submit all W-2s, with transmittal W-3, to the Social Security Administration, including e-filing. 
  • You must submit all 1099 forms, including Form 1099-MISC, along with a transmittal form 1096, to the IRS, including filing electronically.