New Deadlines for Filing W-2s

New Jan. 31 Deadline for Employers

Under The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, employers must now file copies of Form W-2, to the Social Security Administration, by Jan. 31. The new Jan. 31 filing deadline also applies to certain Forms 1099-MISC reporting non-employee compensation such as payments to independent contractors. In the past, employers typically had until the end of February, if filing on paper, or the end of March, if filing electronically, to submit their copies of these forms. In addition, there are changes in requesting an extension to file the Form W-2. Only one 30-day extension to file Form W-2 is available and this extension is not automatic. If an extension is necessary, a Form 8809 Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns must be completed as soon as you know an extension is necessary, but by January 31. Please carefully review the instructions for Form 8809, for more information.  “As tax season approaches, the IRS wants to be sure employers, especially smaller businesses, are aware of these new deadlines,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We are working with the payroll community and other partners to share this information widely.”  The new accelerated deadline will help the IRS improve its efforts to spot errors on returns filed by taxpayers. Having these W-2s and 1099s earlier will make it easier for the IRS to verify the legitimacy of tax returns and properly issue refunds to taxpayers eligible to receive them. In many instances, this will enable the IRS to release tax refunds more quickly than in the past.  The Jan. 31 deadline has long applied to employers furnishing copies of these forms to their employees and that date remains unchanged.

Employers must be vigilant and meet these filing deadlines as the penalties for failure to do so are very steep and the IRS is unforgiving in this area.  If your business has employees then make sure that your accounting and bookkeeping staff is aware of the new changes so that you avoid penalties for failing to comply with the new law.

Art Weiss

Art Weiss is a Tucson tax attorney specializing in helping you make sense of your tax problems. Specialties include personal tax issues, business tax issues, tax planning and preparation, business planning and general business law.

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