W-2 and 1099 Tax Report Deadlines for the 2018 Tax Year

W-2 and 1099 tax report illustration
The Balance

Businesses must prepare tax reporting forms for all of their employees as part of their tax filing obligations. Generally, W-2 forms are used for full-time workers and the 1099 MISC is used for contractors. Subsequently, businesses must also file a Form W-3 or Form 1096 as an informational summation of their W-2 and 1099 reporting.

For the 2018 tax year, employers must provide employees with a W-2 by January 31, 2019. The same deadline applies for completing and providing the 1099 MISC. Both W-3 and 1096 summation forms are also due to the appropriate government agency by January 31, 2019.

To avoid errors in payroll tax forms, make an effort to get these forms to employees before the end of January so there is time for any errors to be corrected.

Early Filing Dates for Individual States

The W-2 and 1099 MISC are used by workers on both their federal and state taxes. Some states may have an earlier filing date requirement so it can also be important to check individual state deadlines for payroll filings. Check on the filing date and other requirements for your state by going to your state tax division.


The IRS has penalties for employers who do not comply with tax reporting deadlines. Penalties can include the following:

  • Failing to file the correct forms by the due date.
  • Intentional disregard of filing requirements.
  • Failure to furnish W-2 or 1099 to workers.

Penalties can be charged on a per return basis with a maximum level set by the IRS.

All Annual Payroll Tax Reports Due in January 2019

These reports are due January 31, 2019, for 2018 payroll taxes, including annual wage and tax reports, unemployment tax reports (Form 940), and Form 941 (the quarterly payroll tax report). 

W-2 Forms and 1099-MISC Forms to Employees and Non-Employees

By January 31, 2019, annual wage and tax reports must be given to employees and independent contractors who did work for you in 2018. That's W-2s for employees and 1099-MISC forms for contract workers and outside businesses you made payments to. (If you aren't sure whether to send a 1099-MISC to someone, read more about who must receive a 1099-MISC.)

While tax season doesn't begin until late in January for personal tax returns, including small business tax filing on Schedule C for small businesses, some people like to get an early start on tax preparation, so the sooner you can get these forms out, the better.

When you submit W-2 forms to SSA and 1099-MISC Forms to the IRS, consider the following:

  • Submit summation forms for W-2s to the Social Security Administration by January 31, 2019. That's Form W-3, along with all W-2s.
  • Submit summation forms for 1099s to the IRS by January 31, 2019. That’s Form 1096.

Consider the following when you submit unemployment tax forms: 

Notably, Form 941 (Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Form) for Fourth Quarter 2018 is due January 31, 2019.

More on Preparing and Filing Wage and Tax Reports

If this is your first time filing W-2 forms and 1099-MISC forms, you'll want to do further research. For 1099-MISC forms, read more about what to do before you prepare these forms, and then follow the step-by-step directions for completing the forms. And always remember that W-2 forms go to the Social Security Administration, and 1099-MISC forms go to the IRS.