Payroll Tax Preparation

Where to Get W-2 Forms and 1099-MISC Forms

payroll tax forms
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When to File W-2 and 1099-MISC Forms

The deadline for giving W-2 forms to employees and 1099-MISC forms to non-employees is January 31 of the year following the tax year. So, the deadline for giving people these forms for 2018 is January 31, 2019.

The deadline for filing these forms is also January 31, but the filing is sent to different government agencies, depending on the form:

  • W-2 forms must be filed with the Social Security Administration (SSA)
  • 1099-MISC forms must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The January 31 deadline may be different in some years if that date falls on a weekend or a holiday. In either of these cases, the deadline for that year is the next business day.

W-2 Forms and 1099-MISC Forms 

January can be a hectic time for businesses. Save yourself some stress by getting your annual payroll tax reporting forms in advance.

If you have employees, you must give them the annual wage and tax forms they will need to complete and file their income tax returns. If you hire contract workers or other businesses, such as attorneys, you must give them forms if you pay them more than $600 over the course of the year.

Where to Get the Forms

All IRS forms are dated. You must use the correct form for the current year. The year is marked on the forms on the bottom in black lettering.

Major office supply stores have packets of W-2 forms and 1099-MISC forms. They might be available in your local store, or you can usually order them online.

Your local accounting firm should have these forms also. If you do not have an accounting firm, it might be time to find a good CPA or other tax professional to help you with your business taxes. An accountant can take your payroll information and file W-2 forms and 1099-MISC forms for you in addition to helping you complete your business tax return.

TurboTax Home & Business and H&R Block AtHome Premium & Business can also help you prepare W-2s and 1099s.

If you begin early enough, you should still have time to order tax forms directly from the IRS. Go to their for more information. Current forms are usually available after December 1.

Where You Cannot Get W-2 Forms 

You cannot download W-2 forms or 1099-MISC forms from the internet, not even from the IRS. Copy A of the W-2 form is a specific color of red ink that cannot be duplicated. You must file the specific IRS form of Copy A with the Social Security Administration at the end of January. 

As noted above, you cannot use last year's forms. Using out-dated forms might mean your filing is rejected.

Submitting Isn't Filing!

Don't forget that after you provide W-2 forms to employees and 1099-MISC forms to contract workers, you must also file these forms with the appropriate federal agency by January 31.

Filing W-2 Forms and 1099-MISC Forms Online

You can directly with the Social Security Administration through their portal. You can file 1099-MISC forms and other 1099 forms online with the IRS through the FIRE System (Filing Electronic Returns Electronically) online.

If you file 250 or more returns, you must file electronically—you do not have a choice.