How to File W-2 Forms with W-3 Forms Online

How to E-File W-2 Forms and W-3 Forms Online

How to E-File Form W-2
••• How to E-File Form W-2. Ali Majdfar/Getty Images

The IRS has announced that the filing, with the Social Security Administration, including W-3 forms, for 2017 tax filing is January 31, 2018. That's a month earlier than the former filing date; the earlier date was set up to help prevent tax fraud. The earlier date applies to all filings, including online filing. Read more the

What are W-2 Forms and W-3 Forms? 

W-2 forms are used to report employee wages and salaries to the IRS for income reporting purposes. The W-2 is prepared by the employer and it is provided to the employee and the Social Security Administration (SSA) by the end of January, for the previous tax year. The SSA uses the information for Social Security purposes and it shares the information with the IRS for income tax purposes. 

W-3 forms are called "transmittal forms. They summarize the information on all the W-2 forms sent to the SSA. W-3 forms are not needed if you file W-2 forms with the SSA online. 

How Do I File W-2 Forms and W-3 Forms Online?  

for each employee must be submitted to the Social Security Administration (SSA) each year for all of your employees, for the previous calendar year. W-2 forms for employees are submitted along with , which is a summary form.

W-2 forms are due, along with W-3 summary transmittal forms, by January 31 for the previous year. Since both the employee forms and the SSA forms are due on the same date, it's a good idea to give the W-2 forms to employees earlier in January so they can look them over and you can make corrections, if necessary. 

You may e-file Forms W-2 online on the SSA's (BSO) website. You can create fill-in versions of these forms, print out copies for filing with state or local governments, for distribution to employees, and for your own records.

Filing 250 or more W-2 Forms? You MUST File Online


If you file 250 or more Forms W-2 during a calendar year, you must file them electronically unless the IRS grants you a waiver. (You may be charged a penalty if you fail to file electronically when required.)

Benefits to E-Filing W-2 Forms 

  • E-filing, according to the IRS, saves time and effort and helps ensure accuracy.
  • You don't need to calculate and submit a ; the Social Security Administration generates a W-3 automatically.
  • You can use the BSO site to verify Social Security Numbers for wage reporting purposes.
  • The BSO site offers a , , a and lots of other useful information to help you e-file those W-2 forms.
  • If you make a mistake in one or more W-2 forms after you have filed, you can submit W-2c forms to correct the error.

    Before You Submit These Forms Electronically

    To submit W-2 forms online, you must first register with the Social Security Administration's  section. 

    Then you will need to create and save your W-2 forms using a special file format and submit them to BSO.

    After the files are submitted, you can view the uploaded files and see error reports, including name and Social Security Number mismatches, and make corrections.

    You can also review the status of your submission and see if the file has been accepted.

    Still confused about Form W-2? Answers to Your Questions About the W-2 Form