W-2 Deadlines, Penalties, & Extension for 2019/2020

Form W-2 is an annual payroll report that shows the amount of taxes withheld from the employees’ paycheck for the year and is used to file federal and state taxes.

As 2019 draws to a close, it is important for all the employers to issue Form W-2 to their employees without any delay so they can start preparing their annual tax returns. And, as an employer, you must also file copies of W-2s to the Social Security Administration (SSA), along with Form W-3 (a transmittal summarizing the W-2s); and state government so the governments can check tax returns for accuracy.

W-2 Deadlines for 2019

The following table will help you to remember all the W-2 deadlines for sending W-2 forms to the employees and for paper filing or e-filing them with the SSA.

Form W-2 Deadline
Issuing W-2 Forms to the employees January 31, 2020
Filing to SSA by Mail January 31, 2020
Filing to SSA Electronically January 31, 2020

The deadline for furnishing copies to employees, paper filing or E-filing to SSA is the same i.e. January 31st, 2020.

  • You must furnish Copies B, C and 2 of Form W-2 to your employees by January 31, 2020.
  • The due date for filing Forms W-2 and W-3 with the SSA is now January 31, 2020, whether you file using paper forms or electronically.w2 deadlines 2019 2020

W-2 Penalties for Late Filing for Small Businesses

It’s important for the employers to send W-2s to their employees and file them to SSA before the W-2 deadline otherwise heavy penalties for late submissions or wrong information will be imposed.

The penalties range from $50-$530 per missed W-2 tax form, depending on how late the forms were submitted.

W-2 Penalties Length of Delay
$50 per return/$187,500 maximum If you file the correct form within 30 days of the due date
$110 per return/$536,000 maximum If you file between 31 days of the due date and August 1
$270 per return/$1,072,500 maximum Filing on or after August 1st, 2020
$550 per return/No limitation Intentionally neglecting to file

In the above case, the IRS considers you to be a small business if you’ve earned an average of $5 million or less in annual revenue for the past three tax years. For more information, refer IRS website.

W-2 Extension

You can ask for a 30-day extension from the IRS by filing the Form 8809, Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns if you think you will miss the deadline. However, the extension is not automatic and it will be granted only in “extraordinary circumstances or catastrophe.” If you suffer from a natural disaster such as a hurricane, flood, tornado, or your books and records are destroyed by a fire, then you will get a favorable response to your extension request.

The reason for the extension should be explained clearly on the Form 8809 and it must be signed under penalty of perjury.

It will be best if you file Form 8809 between January 1 and January 31 or as early as possible when you need an extension.

Note: You cannot request a second extension.

For more information, refer IRS Guide for General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3.

Depending on your requirement, if you are filing 250 or more forms for the calendar year, then e-filing is a must. Else, you can paper file and mail to IRS for less than 250 forms.

If you have any questions about the W-2 filing, you can reach us at any time. We’d be happy to help you out.

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