W2 Deadline: Jan. 31

Attention Employers


Wage reports (typically in W2 form) for 2018 must be filed by Jan. 31, 2019.

You must file a W2 for every employee whom you paid more than $600 last year. (Even if your company has gone out of business—our condolences—you’re still responsible for providing a W2 to your former employees.)

A W2, or Wage and Tax Statement, includes detailed information on the compensation you provided to each of your employees in the 2018 calendar year. That information includes wages and income tax (both federal and state) withheld, Medicare and Social Security withheld, as well as 401k payments and other potential deductions.

You must provide your employees with a physical, paper version of the W2. The easiest way to deliver the form may just be to physically hand it to each employee when they come into the office. (This will allow them an immediate chance to review the information and let you know if there are any errors.) Alternately, you can mail your employees their W2s—just make sure they’re all postmarked by Jan. 31. The goal is to allow your employees ample time to review the information, report corrections if needed, and then use the information on the W2 to file their own taxes by the IRS’s personal income tax April 15 deadline.

What you’ll need: In addition to all of the financial compensation information organized (hopefully) in your company’s bookkeeping records, you’ll need all of your employees’ social security numbers in order to file your W2s. (If your company outsources compensation management to a PEO, then that organization should already have a significant head start on the whole process.)

Fortunately in this day and age, much of the W2 filing process can be completed online. You’ll have to register your business with the Social Security Administration’s Business Services Online portal, where you can verify your employees’ names and SSAs.

What to do if there’s a mistake: If an employee points out an error on their W2 after it’s already been filed, you’ll need to file a W2C—a Statement of Corrected Income and Tax Amounts. This, too, can be filed online.

For more information on filing your W2 as an employer, including complete instructions, tutorials, registration and forms, visit the Social Security Administration website here.

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