TN 12 (02-24)

RM 01105.005 Wage Report Filing Requirements

A. Introduction

This section describes the rules set out in IRS regulations for the filing of wage reports with SSA (called “information returns” by IRS). An “information return” consists of transmittal Form W-3 plus Forms W-2 or, in the case of magnetic media reports, the magnetic media plus the transmittal Forms 6559 and 6559A.

B. Policy

1. Who must file wage reports

Generally, the employer responsible for withholding Social Security taxes is required to file wage reports with SSA. Exceptions to this rule are:

  1. a. 

    Third party payers of sick pay are not responsible for filing wage reports unless:

    • the sick pay is wages for Social Security purposes; and

    • the third party payer fails to provide the employer, by January 15 of the year following the year sick pay was paid, sufficient information for the employer to include it in the employer's wage reports filed with SSA.

  2. b. 

    Successor employers who have taken over the business of a predecessor employer may, by agreement between the two, file wage reports for employees for the entire tax year covering wages under both the predecessor and the successor employers. Under these circumstances, the predecessor employer is not required to file wage reports for the tax year.

  3. c. 

    A lender, surety, or other third person who pays wages for an employer's employees directly or provides funds for the purpose of paying such wages is usually not responsible for filing wage reports with SSA. The employer remains responsible for filing these reports. However, in some instances, IRS may designate such third party to perform specific employer duties, such as filing wage reports.

2. Who must sign wage reports

One of the following persons must sign wage reports:

  1. a. 

    A principal officer, in the case of a corporation.

  2. b. 

    An authorized member or officer having sufficient knowledge, in the case of a partnership or other unincorporated organization.

  3. c. 

    An individual having power of attorney in the name of the person required to make the report.

  4. d. 

    A fiduciary, in the case of a report filed on behalf of a trust or estate.

  5. e. 

    A transmitter or sender (including a service bureau, paying agent, or disbursing agent) who:

    • is authorized to sign by an agency agreement (oral, written, or implied) that is valid under State law; and

    • is authorized by the payer to ask for taxpayer SSN's or, if including more than one payer's report on a magnetic media submission, has obtained affidavits from each payer that the law was complied with in attempting to get the taxpayer's correct SSN's; and

    • is shown as signing “for (name of payer)” next to the signature on the report.

3. Service bureaus

Service bureaus (private profit-making firms that contract with employers to provide them with one or more bookkeeping and payroll services) may simply prepare the W-2 data on magnetic media and file it with SSA on the employer's behalf.

4. Time limit on filing wage reports

  1. a. 

    Wage reports must be filed electronically or on paper with SSA by January 31st following the tax year in which the wages were paid. If January 31st is a non-work day, the deadline is the next workday.

  2. b. 

    Wage reports may be filed with SSA in the current tax year upon the death of the employee or the termination of either the employee's work for the employer or termination of the employer's business.

  3. c. 

    Wage reports may be filed up to 30 days after the normal due date at the discretion of IRS. Request for such extension should be:

    • Made on Form 8809, “Request for Extension of Time to File Information Returns”, (See Exhibit 3, RM 01105.037) However, the request can also be made in any writing that identifies the tax year involved, number of W-2's, employer's EIN, name, address, and telephone number. The request should explain in full the reasons for requesting the time extension.

    • Sent to the IRS Computing Center P.O. Box 1359, Martinsburg, West Virginia 25401-1359.

    • Signed by the employer or the employer's agent.

5. Where to file wage reports

  1. a. 

    Magnetic media wage reports are filed with SSA offices in Baltimore, Maryland.

    The mailing addresses are:

    For tapes and cartridges via the U.S. Post Office:

    Social Security Administration

    AWR Magnetic Media Processing

    5-F-17, NB, Metro West


    P.O. Box 17282

    Baltimore, Maryland 21235

    For diskettes via the U.S. Post Office:  

    Social Security Administration

    AWR Magnetic Media Processing

    5-F-17, NB, Metro west

    P.O. Box 17747

    Baltimore, Maryland 21235-7747

    For tape, cartridge or diskette via a carrier other than the United States Post Office:

    Social Security Administration

    AWR Magnetic Media Processing

    5-F-17, NB, Metro West

    300 N. Greene Street

    Baltimore, Maryland 21290-0300
  2. b. 

    Paper wage reports are filed with the data operations center designated on Form W-3 instructions.

NOTE: Form W-2's/W-3's misdirected to field offices must be forwarded to the DOC servicing the employer. Forms and publications referred to in this subchapter are available from the Forms & Instructions | Internal Revenue Service page. Many IRS and Social Security Administration (SSA) forms and publications are also available from Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information page.

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RM 01105.005 - Wage Report Filing Requirements - 02/05/2024
Batch run: 02/06/2024