TN 1 (02-09)

RM 02019.001 Requests for Copies of Employer Reports

A. Introduction to Form W-3 and Form W-2

The Office of Central Operations (OCO), Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO) provides copies of tax return forms used by employers for non-program purpose and/or program purposes. These forms are:

  • Form W-3 (Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements)

  • Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement).

B. Description of non-program purpose for providing copies of tax return forms

A non-program purpose is any purpose other than those outlined in RM 01455.004A. and GN 03311.005. The information is usually requested for the following reasons:

  • establish earnings amounts and/or verify the existence and duration of employment relationships for private pension purposes

  • provide information for use in civil litigation not related to Social Security benefits (i.e., asbestosis cases, discrimination suits, etc)

  • establish entitlement to union, company or private pension benefits

  • provide income information for workmen's compensation

  • establish union seniority

  • provide information for various other purposes which are not specifically related to the administration of the program or programs under the Social Security Act

C. Description of program purpose for providing copies of tax return

Consider a request to be program purpose if the information will be used for a purpose which is directly related to the administration of a program under the Social Security Act. Generally a charge is not made for information needed for program purposes (GN 03311.005B.)

Major Criteria to consider

  • pursue Retirement, Survivors, Disability, Supplemental Security Income and other benefits under the Act

  • verify the accuracy of information obtained in connection with programs administered under the Act

  • carry out employer taxpaying responsibilities under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) or section 218 of the Act

  • resolution of earnings discrepancy authorized under the Act

D. Fees for copies of employer wage reports W3/W2 (non-program)

The Privacy Act, Section 1106c of the Social Security Act, and the Code of Federal Regulations 20, Part 400, permits SSA to charge a fee for searching, reviewing, and providing copies of W-3/W-2 data which is not related to the administration of the Social Security program. (GN 03311.005E.1.)

The established fee for employer requests is $86.00 per request for each year that copies of Forms W-2 are requested, regardless of the number of W-2 copies actually provided for each of the years requested, or whether copies are available for the year(s) requested. Full cost includes searching, reviewing, duplicating, and forwarding to requestor. SSA requires the requester to pay all fees before records are furnished. Payment of fees will be made payable to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

E. Most Common Reasons for Copies of Wage Reports

1. Non-program related reasons for copies of wage reports

  • misplaced/destroyed/lost wage reports

  • established company benefit program

  • established earnings amounts for private pension purposes

  • provide information in a civil litigation (i.e., asbestos cases and discrimination suit)

  • health issues

  • audits and studies (research/statistical/historical purposes)

  • others (not related to SSA programs)

2. Program related reason for copies of wage reports

  • IRS/SSA discrepancy

  • missing reports

  • duplicate tax returns

  • third party refuses to provide copies to employer

  • destroyed due to natural causes

  • IRS issues

  • others (related to SSA programs)


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0102019001
RM 02019.001 - Requests for Copies of Employer Reports - 04/04/2017