Frequently Asked Questions on Form W-2

What is IRS Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement 2024?

Form W-2 is used to collect wage and salary information to be reported at the federal and state levels. The information on this form helps employees to report income when completing Form 1040 on their personal tax returns.

Every employer should complete a Form W-2 for each employee that has worked for them during the year. This form should be filed with the Social Security Administration and any applicable state tax departments and sent to the employees.

Who Needs to File W-2 with the SSA?

All employers must report wage and salary information for all of their employees during the previous year. An employee is defined by the IRS as a worker who is employed by the company and whose work is controlled and directed by the company.

Does an Independent Contractor get a W-2?

The short answer is no. An independent contractor shouldn’t expect to receive a Form W-2. Instead, they should receive a 1099. A 1099 has a completely separate set of rules that do not apply to the answers found here.

Check out our short W-2 vs 1099 Questionnaire to see how to classify workers.

Do I need to file Form W-2 with my State?

Some states mandate the filing of Form W-2 with the State. Neglecting to file with the state can lead to penalties. These State penalties are in addition to any Federal penalties.

The penalty rates vary by state and are determined by when you submit your return.

Depending on your state's regulations, you may be required to submit Form W-2 and additional reconciliation forms to the relevant state agency. You can quickly e-file these forms from your BoomTax account. But first, review your W2 state filing requirements.

What are the Boxes for Form W-2?

Employer Information

Image of Form W2 Employer Boxes 2023

Complete the Employer Details section. This includes:

  • Name
  • EIN
  • Employer Type
  • Address

Employee Information

Image of Form W2 Employee Boxes 2023

Complete the Employee Details section. This includes:

  • Name
  • SSN
  • Address
  • Contact Details

Employee Amount Boxes

Image of Form W2 Boxes 2023

Local Tax Information: Local, City, or other Income Tax Withheld

Image of Form W2 State & Local Boxes 2023

Initiate your e-filing with BoomTax today. For Form W-2 instructions, click here.

What are the 2024 deadlines for Form W-2?

  • January 31st, 2024
    Recipient Copies/Paper/E-file

    Form W-2 must be distributed by the employer to the recipient on or before January 31st

    Form W-2 must be mailed or E-Filed to the SSA on or before January 31st

Note: The deadline is typically the next business day if the deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday.

What is the Penalty for Missing Form W-2 Deadline for 2024?

Failing to file Form W-2 by the deadline or meeting the deadline but providing incorrect recipient information can result in IRS penalties ranging from $60 to $630, depending on how late the form is submitted.

The IRS has increased these amounts for the 2024 filing year.

After the deadline but within 30 days

$60 per form

up to

$220,500 per year (smaller businesses)

$630,500 per year

After 31 days - August 1st

$120 per form

up to

$630,500 per year (smaller businesses)

$1,891,500 per year

After August 1st, or not at all

$310 per form

up to

$1,261,000 per year (smaller businesses)

$3,783,000 per year

Intentionally Not Filing

$630 per form

no maximum penalty

W-2 penalties may be subject to the following:

  • Furnishing incorrect information on a return
  • Failure to provide the required information
  • Late filing of returns
  • Paper filing when required to file electronically (E-file W-2 if you have 10 or more information returns)
  • Not sending in corrections
  • Select the correct form
  • Invalid TIN
  • Not sending employee copies promptly

Discover more about IRS penalties by visiting the penalties breakdown.

What are the copies of Form W-2?

According to IRS guidelines, employers must provide their employees with three copies: B, C, and 2. A total list of W-2 copies and their function include:

Copy A

Copy to file with the SSA (if paper filing).

Copy 1

Copy to file with the State, City, or Local Tax Department.

Copy B

Copy to be filed With Employee's FEDERAL Tax Return.

Copy C

Copy for employee records.

Copy 2

Copy for employee’s State, City, or Local Income Tax Return.

Copy D

Copy for employer records.

How do I request an extension for submitting Form W2?

Since 2016, the Form W2 extension for filing with the SSA is no longer automatically granted. Instead, a 30-day extension is only allowed under specific circumstances. To request this extension, submit Form 8809, Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns, as a paper filing and mail in the form to the address listed.

When filing Form 8809, provide a comprehensive explanation for the extension request and sign under penalties of perjury. Discover more about Form W2 Extensions.

E-filing vs. Paper Filing

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  • Immediate real-time IRS updates
  • File 1000s of forms easily at once
  • Validates 1000s of IRS rules
  • Can help with questions in real-time in the chat

Paper Filing

  • It can take weeks to hear a status update
  • Requires unique red ink form
  • Prone to human error
  • No expert to help with questions

Note: SSA recommends that payers utilize the e-file option over paper filing for faster processing and immediate updates.

What is Form W-3?

IRS Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, is only required when the employer is opting to paper file. A Form W-3 is a transmittal or cover sheet that comes before the stack of W-2 forms. It provides the SSA with a summary of the information being filed. Employers should never file a Form W-3 by itself; it should always be accompanied by the corresponding Form W-2.

The form includes information about the filer, the total number of forms, and totals of all of the wages, withholding, and other amounts being filed.

For more information, check out this Essential W-3 Guide for 2024.

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