Section 232 of the Social Security Act provides the authority for us to enter into
agreement with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax return information purposes.
Under this agreement, the IRS instructs employers to file their annual wage reports
with us. Employers may file the wage reports using:
a paper Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) and Form W-3 (Transmittal of Income and
Tax Statements) , or
equivalent W-2 and W-3 magnetic media reports, or
We also receive wage reports from IRS for self-employed persons. We process wage reports
to update the earnings records we use to determine a person’s entitlement to retirement,
survivors, and disability insurance benefits.
Our maintenance, use, and disclosure of these reports are subject to the Internal
Revenue Code (IRC). Special rules apply regarding the maintenance, use, and disclosure
of tax return information. These rules include strict penalties for the unauthorized
access to such records (e.g., SSA employees browsing through this information without
an official need to know) and the inappropriate disclosure of tax return information.
IRS Publication 1075 explains the special rules and penalties that may apply to violations.
Our disclosure policy and operating procedures incorporate all of the IRS disclosure
and confidentiality requirements for tax return information. We must adhere to these
requirements when using and or disclosing tax return information.