Extensions and Late Filing Penalties for Forms W-2 and 1099-MISC

How to Apply for an Extension to File W-2 and 1099-MISC Forms

close up of w-2 1099 tax forms in a pile on a table
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January is the time for annual reports to employees and non-employees - employees receive Form W-2 and non-employees receive Form 1099-MISC for 2019. But what if you miss the deadline?

Be sure to use the 2019 version of 1099-MISC for 2019 payments to nonemployees and others. The 1099-MISC form is changing in 2020, and a new 2020 Form 1099-NEC will be used to report payments to nonemployees.

To be sure you are using the correct form, check that the date "2019" is in the top right and that Item 7 is for "nonemployee compensation."

Due Dates for W-2s and 1099-MISC Forms

The filing deadline for W-2s and 1099-MISC forms to report taxable income for the current calendar year is January 31 of the following year. For example, the deadline for 2019 W-2s and 1099-MISC forms is January 31, 2020.

The deadline is for:

  • Giving Form 1099-MISC to non-employees, and giving Form W-2 to employees (Copies B, C, and 2) 
  • Filing these reports with the proper federal agency; Social Security Administration (SSA) for W-2 forms and the IRS for 1099-MISC forms. 

Make Sure Taxpayer IDs are Correct

To avoid penalties and confusion, make sure you have correct Taxpayer ID numbers for employees and non-employees before you work on these annual report forms (W-2s and 1099-MISC forms):

  • Double-check employee IDs on Form W-4
  • Make sure you have a W-9 form for each non-employee with a taxpayer ID.

Read more about acceptable taxpayer ID numbers, for more information.

Filing an Extension Application for W-2s

Filing with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Your business may request one 30-day extension of time to file Form W-2 with the Social Security Administration. By January 31 (the form deadline), you must submit a complete extension application in writing on IRS Form 8809. (You can't file Form 8809 electronically for a W-2 extension request.)

The IRS says it will grant the request "in limited cases for extraorda=inary circumstances or catastrophe," for example if your company's employee's records were destroyed in a disaster. 

Giving to employees. You may request one 15-day extension to furnish Form W-2 to employees. You must submit the request by January 31 in writing to the IRS at

Internal Revenue Service
Attn: Extension of Time Coordinator
240 Murall Drive, Mail Stop 4360
Kearneysville, WV 25430

Include your business name and address and Employer ID Number, a statement that you are requesting an extension of time to furnish W-2 forms to employees, the reason for the delay, and the signature of your authorized agent.

The IRS doesn't automatically grant requests for extensions, and employees are counting on these forms to complete their tax returns. Make every effort to get these forms to employees by the January 31 deadline or as soon as possible after that.

Filing an Extension Application for Form 1099-MISC

Filing with the IRS. You may be able to get an extension for filing Form 1099-MISC with the IRS, by completing IRS Form 8809. Extension requests for reporting non-employee income (Box 7) must be submitted by paper, not online. Mail the form to:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Center.
Ogden, UT 84201-0209.

Giving to recipients. You may request up to a 30-day extension for giving 1099-MISC forms to recipients. Be sure your letter is postmarked by the due date (January 31). Send the letter to

Internal Revenue Service
Attn: Extension of Time Coordinator
240 Murall Drive, Mail Stop 4360
Kearneysville, WV 25430.

Include your payer name, address, and tax ID number. State the type of return, and that you are submitting a request for providing statements to employees, the reason for the delay, and the signature of your authorized agent. 

There is no automatic extension for filing W-2 forms with SSA or filing 1099-MISC forms for non-employees (Box 7) with the IRS.

What about Forms W-3 and 1096?

The W-3 form and 1096 forms are summary and transmittal forms you must use when filing paper returns with the SSA or the IRS. You don't need these forms if you are filing electronically. Read more about how and when to file Forms W-3 and Form 1096.

Penalties for Late Filing of W-2 Forms

If you don't file a correct W-2 form by the due date and you can't show reasonable cause, penalties can apply for:

  • Failing to time timely (by the due date)
  • Failing to include all required information
  • Including incorrect information, especially an incorrect Taxpayer ID number (TIN)
  • Filing using a paper form when you are required to e-file (if you have over 250 W-2 forms to file)
  • Failing to report a Taxpayer ID number, or
  • Failing to file paper forms that are readable by a machine. (This means you must use a specific form of the W-2 with special red ink, not just a W-2 you copied from the internet.)

Three good places to get official W-2 Forms and 1099-MISC forms:

You don't have to include W-3 forms if you file W-2s online, but you might pay a penalty if you file by mail and you don't file W-3 statements with the SSA along with copies of employees' W-2s.

Penalties can also be imposed for statements that are incomplete or inaccurate. You might avoid the penalties if you can show "reasonable cause" for your failure, but don't count on the SSA or IRS accepting your excuse. The penalties are higher if your failure is willful or if it can be proved that you intentionally disregarded the law.

The penalty amount is based on when you file (the later you file, the higher the penalty) and the size of your business (lower for small businesses). Penalties are also imposed by form, so if you misfiled 250 forms, you'll pay the penalty for each form. File as soon as you can, to avoid additional time-related penalties.

For filings due after December 31, 2019 (including the January 31, 2020, due date), the penalty is $50 per W-2 form if you correctly file within 30 days of the due date. It's $110 per W-2 form if you correctly file more than 30 days after the due date but by August 1, and $270 per W-2 form if you file after August 1, if you don't file corrections or you don't file the forms.

Small businesses: Penalties are smaller for "small businesses", those with $5 million or less in average annual gross receipts for the three most recent tax years. The amount of the penalty is based on when you file.

Other exceptions to these penalties include:

  • What the IRS calls "inconsequential errors or omissions"
  • Reasonable cause, if you can show that failure was due to an event beyond your control or for "significant mitigating factors." 

You can be liable for penalties if you fail to file Form W-3 with the SSA along with W-2s for all employees by the end of February for the preceding year. You can also be penalized if the forms are incorrect with errors or omissions or if you file by mail if you are required to file electronically (for 250 forms). 

You can avoid penalties if you file in a timely manner, by the due date, and include all required information on the form. Make sure you file on the correct form, not a photocopy, and that you have correct Social Security or tax identification numbers for employees. Check the spelling of surnames and that any and all monetary amounts are correct.

Penalties for Late Filing of 1099-MISC Forms

Penalties for failing to file correct 1099-MISC forms by the due date include:

  • Failing to file by the due date
  • Failing to include all required information
  • Including incorrect information
  • if you file by mail when you were required to file electronically
  • You fail to report a taxpayer ID or you file an incorrect one.

The penalty is $50 if you correctly file within 30 days, and it increases to $110 per return if you file more than 30 days late but by August 1. It's $270 per return if you file after August 1 or you don't file at all. 

You can also incur a separate penalty if you fail to provide 1099-MISC statements to payees on time. The amount is based on when you furnish the correct statement.

Returns must be complete and correct to avoid penalties.

Using a payroll service provider does not relieve you of your responsibility to ensure that the W-2 forms and 1099-MISC forms are filed correctly and on time.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be complete or to be tax or legal advice. Every business situation is different, and regulations may change. If you have questions about extensions or penalties, check with your tax professional.

Article Sources

  1. IRS. "General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3." Furnishing Copies B, C, and 2 to employees. Page 6. Accessed Dec. 22, 2019.

  2. IRS. “General Instructions for Certain Information Returns.” When to File. Page 6. Accessed Dec. 22, 2019. 

  3. IRS. "General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3." Furnishing Copies B, C, and 2 to employees. Page 6. Accessed Dec. 22, 2019.

  4. IRS. “General Instructions for Certain Information Returns.” Page 1. Accessed Dec. 22, 2019. 

  5. IRS. "General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3." Extensions of time to file. Page 1.. Accessed Dec. 22, 2019.

  6. IRS. "Form 8809 Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns." General Instructions. Accessed Dec. 22, 2019.

  7. IRS. “General Instructions for Certain Information Returns.” Extension of time to furnish statements to recipients. Page 16. Accessed Dec. 22, 2019. 

  8. IRS. "General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3." Penalties. Page 13. Accessed Dec. 22, 2019.

  9. IRS. "General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3." Penalties. Page 13ff. Accessed Dec. 22, 2019.

  10. IRS. “General Instructions for Certain Information Returns.” Penalties. Page 18. Accessed Dec. 22, 2019.