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Late With Your W-2 Forms? Here's What to Do

By Tanya Roth, Esq. | Last updated on

Are you going to be late in filing your W-2 forms with the IRS? If so, what can you do?

As you probably know, any business that pays more than $600 per year to an employee (in cash or noncash payments) and has been withholding income, Social Security or Medicare taxes from that employee, must file a W-2 form for each employee. These forms should have been sent to employees by February 1.

The next step for business owners is to file your W-2 forms with the IRS. But depending on how you file your business taxes, the W-2 filing deadline may differ as well.

If you're filing paper taxes, the deadline for the 2012 tax year is February 28, 2013. But if you're using the e-file system, the deadline is automatically extended to April 1, 2013.

That means paper filers have just about a week to get their W-2 forms in order and submit them to the IRS. The paper forms must be sent to:

Social Security Administration
Data Operations Center
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18769-0001.

If you're filing by paper and feel you're going to miss the deadline, you can easily request an extension. Just fill out and send in Form 8809, entitled "Application for Extension of Time To File Information Returns," to the address printed on the form. But be sure to do this before February 28.

Failure to submit W-2 forms and other information returns can lead to penalties for improper filing. According to, reasons for IRS penalties can include:

  • Late filings,
  • Incorrect information on the W-2 form,
  • Filing by paper when a company is required to use e-file,
  • Failure to include a Taxpayer Identification Number, and
  • Failure to file machine-readable paper forms.

What are the penalties for bad reporting? That depends. If you correct the W-2 within 30 days of the date filed, then your penalty is $30 per form. If you correct the W2 more than 30 days later but before August 1, 2013, then your penalty is $60 per erroneous W-2.

Failure to file, or to correct a filing, after August 1, 2013, results in a $100 file per incorrect W-2 form. That's all the more reason to make sure you double-check your W-2s, especially as the filing deadlines get closer.

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