Preparing and Filing Form W-3
Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements
New Earlier Filing Date for W-2 forms and W-3 Form
The IRS has announced that the filing deadline for 2017 W-2s and 1099 forms, including W-3 forms, is January 31, 2019. That's a month earlier than the former filing date.
The earlier filing date doesn't change the deadline for giving W-2 forms to employees. That deadline remains January 31, 2019. That means both the dates are the same.
Because the date you give W-2 forms to employees and the date for filing W-2 and W-3 forms with the Social Security Administration are the same, you might want to give W-2 forms to employees earlier in January, to give time to find errors.
What is Form W-3?
Form W-3 is a compilation/summary return, which shows the totals from W-2 forms which you submitted for employees. The W-3 must be submitted to the IRS along with these statements. If you e-file your W-2s with the Social Security Administration's Business Services Online site, you don't need to include a W-3 form; the W-3 is calculated automatically. Read more about how to e-file W-2s.
How Do I Get Copies of Form W-3 to File?
You can buy printed forms at an office supply store, or you can create "fill-in" forms through the Social Security Administration's Business Services Online section. The business versions of the major tax preparation software apps usually have copies of Forms W-2 and W-3 that you can use.
If you want to print out Form W-3, you must use special scannable forms; you can't just print out the form from a website and use it.
When Must I File Form W-3?
Form W-3 must be submitted to the Social Security Administration no later than January 31 the year following the tax year, along with a copy of all the W-2 statements which it summarizes. This is the due date for both paper and electronically filed reports. If January 31 falls on a weekend or holiday, the form is due the next business day.
NOTE: If you file W-2 forms electronically with the Social Security Administration, you don't need to file a W-3 form.
Where Do I File Form W-3/W-2s? Can I File Online?
You may file W-2 forms online by enrolling in Social Security's Business Services Online program. You do not need to file Form W-3 along with W-2 forms you file online. If you are filing 250 or more W-2 forms, you must file them online.
If you are filing paper forms, you can send the W-2 and W-3 forms to the Social Security Administration through the post office or private delivery service.
How Do I Complete Form W-3?
- The control number (Box a) is optional.
- In Box b, check the box that describes how you pay employment taxes. You probably pay on Form 941 or Form 944.
- In Box c, enter the total number of W-2s you are attaching. Enter your Employer ID Number in Box e.
- In Boxes f and g, enter your business name and address.
- Boxes 1 through 14 correspond to the boxes on the W-2, and you must enter the totals for all W-2s for each of these categories. For example, in Box 1, enter the total wages, tips, and other compensation on all W-2s you are submitting.
- Boxes 15 through 18 are your state identifier and totals for state income and withholding for all W-2s.
- Finally, the W-3 must be signed to verify its accuracy.
How Do I Submit Corrected W-3 Forms?
If there are mistakes on the original W-2 and W-3 forms, you can submit these corrected forms electronically to the Social Security Administration. If you are filing paper copies of Form W-3C, send these to Social Security Administration Direct Operations Center P.O. Box 3333 Wilkes-Barre, PA 18767-3333.
Other Instructions for W-3 Forms
The W-3, along with Copy A of all W-2s, must be submitted to the Social Security Administration, NOT the IRS! You don't need to prepare and submit W-3 forms for W-2 forms you file electronically.
Be sure that all the information on the W-3 about you, including your EIN, is the same as on the W-2 forms you are submitting and that all the totals match the total amounts on the W-2s.
Don't forget to sign and date the form.