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W2 Forms Guide for Employers

Can I submit a black & white substitute for forms W2 Copy  A and form W3?

The answer is YES. This is the good news, the bad news is you can't simply download a PDF file, print it along with the employee information and file it, this might cause your forms to be rejected by the SSA and you might also get fined. The forms you file must comply with the "General Rules and Specifications for Substitute Forms W-2 and W-3", as outlined by the IRS. There are some software vendors that already support this feature including our software W2 Mate. Click here to learn more about our W2 Software.

Do not file Copy A of Forms W-2, W-3, W-2C, and W-3C downloaded from the IRS website with the SSA. They are provided for informational purposes only.






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Common Errors on W2 Forms:

W-2 Forms provide information to your employees, the Social Security Administration,  the IRS, and other state and local governments. Try to avoid making following errors, which might cause processing delays and/or penalties

  • Mis-formating the employee's name in Box e. Make sure to enter the employee's first name and middle initial in the first box, his or her surname in the second box, and his or her suffix in the third box.

  • Making entries that are too small or too large. Use 12-point
    Courier font, if possible.

  • Using ink that is too light. Use black ink only.

  • Inappropriately checking the ?Retirement plan? checkbox in box 13.

  • Adding dollar signs to the money-amount boxes.



Print government-approved substitutes  for Forms W-2 (Copy A) and W-3 on plain white paper.

Click here to learn more.


Who must file Form W-2?

Employers must file Form W-2 for wages paid to each employee from whom income, social security, or Medicare tax was withheld or income tax would have been withheld if the employee had claimed no more than one withholding allowance or had not claimed exemption from withholding on Form W-4.

Also, every employer engaged in a trade or business who pays remuneration for services performed by an employee, including non-cash payments, must furnish a Form W-2 to each employee even if the employee is related to the employer.

Please note that if you are required to file 250 or more W-2 forms, you must file them electronically unless you got a waiver from the IRS.



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Who must file Form W3?

Anyone required to file Form W-2 must file Form W-3 to transmit Copy A of Forms W-2.

How Many Parts Are There of the W2 Form?

The official W2 Form contains the following six parts:

  • Copy A : The employer is responsible for filing this copy with the SSA.

  • Copy 1 : The employer is responsible for filing this copy with the appropriate State, city and local taxing authorities.

  • Copy B : To Be Filed With Employee's Federal Tax Return (Employer is responsible for Distributing this copy to his/her employees)

  • Copy C : For Employee's Records (Employer is responsible for Distributing this copy to his/her employees).

  • Copy 2 : To Be Filed With Employee's State, City or Local Income Tax Return (Employer is responsible for Distributing this copy to his/her employees).

  • Copy D : Employer must retain this copy for his/her records.

How Many Parts Are There of the W3 Form?

The official W-3 form is only one part . A Form W3 must accompany all the Forms W2 Copy A that get sent to the SSA.

As an employer remember to make a photocopy of Form W3 to retain for your records.

Employment tax information.

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W2 Forms and Envelopes:

W-2 Individual Forms

W2 Form - Copy A

W2 Form - Copy B

W2 Form - Copy C

W2 Form - Copy D

W2 Form - STATE COPY 1

W2 Form - STATE COPY 2

W3 Form (Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements)

W-2 Double Window Envelope

1099 Forms and Envelopes:

1099  Individual Forms

1099 Form -MISC COPY A

1099 Form -MISC COPY B

1099 Form -MISC COPY C

1099 Form -MISC State Copy 1

1099 Form -MISC State Copy 2

1096 (Annual Summary & Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns)

W2 and 1099 Kits:

W2 Kit

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be legal or tax advice. Real Business Solutions makes no guarantees as to the validity of the information presented. Your particular facts and circumstances, and changes in the law, must be considered when applying United States tax law.

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