Preparing IRS Form W-2C: When & How to Use

What is Form W-2C?

The IRS introduced form W-2C, Corrected Wage and Tax Statements, as a way to amend inaccurate box information about a recipient that was previously submitted to the Social Security Administration (SSA). This inaccuracy may come in the form of incorrect names, Social Security Number (SSN), and reporting amounts.

IRS Form W-2C Copy A
Image of Form W-2C Copy A

Which form types can W-2C make corrections to?

Form W-2c is typically used to correct name, SSN, and/or wage information for an employee previously reported form types:

  • W-2
  • W-2AS
  • W-2CM
  • W-2GU
  • W-2VI

Making Corrections to a W-2 form

As previously mentioned, form W-2C is only used to make corrections to a previously submitted W-2 to the SSA. Looking at the form above, it looks more complicated than it really is. We’re going to go over some scenarios to clarify how to make corrections for different box types.

Make sure to check out our Mastering Form W-2: The Essential Guide for a refresher on form W-2.

IRS Form W-2 Copy A
Image of Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement – Copy A

Is there additional forms that must be filed with W-2C?

The additional form requirement will will depend on how the employer chooses to file this form with the SSA. If the employer will be utilizing the e-File service, then no, the employer will not have to file out form W-3C, Transmittal of Corrected Wage and Tax Statements. Form W-3C is similar to a regular W-3 as they both act as a summary form for the following W-2(s) attached to that filing.

If the employer chooses to make corrections via paper filing, then yes, there will be an additional form that must be filed out. Form W-3C, Transmittal of Corrected Wage and Tax Statements is similar to a regular W-3 as they both act as a summary form for the following W-2(s) attached to that filing.

Make sure to check out our Mastering Form W-3: The Essential Guide for a refresher on form W-3.

IRS Form W-3C
Image of IRS Form W-3C

When should an employee receive form W-2C?

When the employer or the employee notices there is incorrect information on the originally issued W-2, the next step is to complete form W-2C and distribute the new copy to the employee via paper or electronic delivery. Make sure to submit the W-2C to the SSA for their records.

How long does an employer have to correct a W-2 when incorrect information is brought to their attention?

The employer should try and fix any incorrect information that was transmitted to the SSA as quickly as possible. If that is not possible, generally the employer will have 30 days to fill out form W-2C with the corrections. The employer is expected to distribute the W-2C back to the employee with correct information and resubmit a filing to the SSA. Waiting longer than this 30 day grace period will leave the employer vulnerable to penalties.

Does the employer have to file form W-2C electronically?

Employers filing more than 250 forms are required to file electronically unless granted a waiver from the IRS. If the IRS decides to change this threshold, the IRS will post updates. If the business is over this threshold, we recommend finding an official IRS transmitter for this scenario.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has recently made some changes to the Business Services Online (BSO) portal, learn more about BSO Changes here.

Employer is paper filing, can employer use any type of paper to file?

No, employers cannot use any regular type of printer paper to send form W-2C to the SSA and expect the submission to be accepted. There are paper requirements and ink requirements that must be followed in order for the filing to be accepted and considered valid. Employers can order official forms from the IRS to avoid any confusion and to make sure all requirements are met to avoid a denied submission.

Which copy of form W-2C do employers use?

When submitting form W-2C to the SSA, employers must use the red Copy A.

How is the mailable 250 form threshold calculated?

Businesses that are reporting less than 250 forms may opt to mail in Copy A directly to the SSA. Keep in mind this way is slower and an e-File is recommended by the IRS for the business to receive a status back quicker. The 250 form threshold applies to each form type separately. For example, businesses that are filing 200 1099-MISC and 200 1099-A will still fall under the 250 threshold for each form type since these forms are not added together even though they are being reported by the same business. Keep in mind if one of the form types was above 250, then that form type is required to be sent via e-File.

Similar to how the 250 form threshold is calculated, each individual form type including corrections/originals, do not share the same accumulative form counts. For example, a business who reported 500 1099-MISC forms is required to e-File because the form count is over 250. Considering that an e-File has a quicker turn around, the IRS returned 50 forms that need some type of correction. In this case the business may now opted to file these 50 corrections via mail because these 50 forms now fall under the 250 e-File threshold.

Of course, opting to mail in forms brings its own set of obstacles and requirements and is not recommended by the IRS or by us. Typically the business will use the same software provider they filed with to make corrections as this is usually covered in the initial cost. Nevertheless, we wanted to make sure businesses are aware of this scenario.

IRS Mail in Threshold
How to calculate IRS mail in threshold

What are the paper filing form W-2C requirements?

While we do not recommend sending form W-2C via mail because of an extensive amount of requirements that must be followed in order for the filing to not be rejected, here are several requirements that must be followed that are just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Handwritten forms are accepted but must be legible for machine processing
  • Data must be in the middle of blocks
  • Do not use ‘$’ for reporting amounts
  • Do not use ‘0’ or ‘None’ for blank reporting
  • Do not staple or fold forms

Keep in mind this is a very small list of requirements a business must follow when choosing to mail in forms to the IRS. There are publications worth of requirements and is why we recommend finding a software provider to e-File.

Cases when the SSA will reject form W-2C?

The SSA will reject W-2 filings that are submitted via e-File or paper filing under the following scenarios

  • Medicare wages and tips are less than the sum of social security wages and social security tips
  • Social security tax is greater than 0
    • Social security wages and social security tips are equal to zero
    • Medicare tax is greater than 0
    • Medicare wages and tips are equal to 0

The SSA will reject W-2 and W-2C filings that are submitted via e-File or paper filing for household employers under the following scenarios

  • Sum of social security wages & social security tips is less than the minimum yearly earnings
  • Medicare wages and tips are less than the minimum yearly earning subject to social security and Medicare tax withholding

If either of the explained scenarios above occur on a form, the SSA will reject the filing sent via e-File or paper filing. The SSA will send a notice to the employer via an email or postal mail with instructions stating action is required to correct the forms and resubmit. It is not required to make a note that the following submission will be “corrected” or “amended” after the first filing has been rejected.

Where to mail W-3C and W-2C forms?

If the employer chooses to not take advantage of the e-file service and wants to mail in their forms, they can send form W-2C & W-3C via first class mail to:

Social Security Administration
Direct Operations Center
P.O. Box 3333
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18767-3333

If the employer does not use the U.S. Postal Service, use the following address:

Social Security Administration
Direct Operations Center

Attn: W-2c Process

1150 E. Mountain Drive

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702-7997

When is completing form W-2C required?

Making corrections to employee’s name and/or SSN only

If the only corrections required was an inaccuracy in the employees name or SSN, complete boxes ‘d’ through ‘i’. Do not attempt to make any corrections for boxes 1 through 20. Inform the employee to make the change on their original W-2. Form W-2C is only required to be filed with the SSA for the current tax year. Filing corrections for past tax years is not required.

Making corrections to employee’s name and/or SSN when the original was reported as blanks

If an original W-2 form was sent to the SSA with blanks in either the employee’s name or SSN, submitting a form W-2C will not be suffice to fix this issue. The employer should contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-6270 and explain the situation for further instruction.

Making corrections to the employee’s address

If the employer has submitted their filing to the SSA and distributed copies to employees, but has now been informed the employee’s address was incorrect. The employer is not required to complete form W-2C or resubmit corrections to the SSA. Instead the employer has three options to satisfy requirements. Choose one option below and make a note for employer records.

  1. Issue a new W-2 to the employee with the correct address
  2. Issue form W-2C with the correct address in box i
  3. Reissue the W-2 inside an envelope that has the correct address on the envelope

How to make corrections on form W-2C boxes

Box d: Employee’s Correct SSN

When completing a W-2C, this box must be complete even if the original W-2 did have the correct SSN. If the SSN is being updated, boxes ‘e‘ through ‘imust be completed.

Box e: Corrected Name or SSN

Only check this box when making corrections to the employees name and/or SSN. Boxes ‘d’ and ‘f‘ through ‘i’ must be completed.

Box f: Employee’s Previously Reported SSN

Only complete box ‘f’ if making a correction to the previously reported SSN. If the SSN that was previously reported was blank, enter all zeros in SSN format.

Box g: Employee’s Previously Reported Name

Complete this box if there are changes to the employee’s SSN and/or name. If so, then enter the previously submitted name exactly as it was reported.

Box h: Employee’s First, Initial, and Last Name

Complete this box every time a W-2C is being filled out.

Box i: Employee’s Address and Zip Code

Complete this box every time a W-2C is being filled out.

Box 1-20 Money Amounts

Only complete the corresponding boxe(s) where the dollar amount has changed and did not stay the same. Both previously reported and correct information columns must be complete when making corrections to a box and neither can be blank. Make sure to enter a ‘0‘ if the previously reported was blank or the corrected information is being updated to ‘0’ and not blank.

Box 2 Federal Income Tax Withheld

Only make corrections to this box when an administrative error occurred. An administrative error is when the amount withheld on the original W-2 was not the actual amount withheld.

Boxes 5 and 6

Only complete box 5 and 6 to indicate a correction for Medicare Wages and Tips, and Medicare tax withheld due to an administrative error. An administrative error is when the amount withheld on the original W-2 was not the actual amount withheld. Box 5 must equal or exceed the sum of boxes 3 and 7.

Boxes 8, 10, and 11

Only complete these boxes when making corrections to Allocated Tips, Dependent Care Benefits, or Deferrals and Distributions relating to non-qualified plans.

Box 12 Codes

Only complete this box when making a change to either the original dollar amount or the code. Make sure to complete the dollar amount and code the previously submitted and corrected columns. If making corrections to more than 4 codes, the employer can complete an additional W-2C form to make the corrections.

Make sure to check out our PDF breakdown of Box 12 Codes for a refresher at the bottom.

Box 13

When making a correction to the type of plan that was previously reported, make sure to check the box as what was previously submitted. For the Corrected Information column check the new plan type. However, if the correction being made is the box should not have been originally checked, the Corrected Information side may be left blank to indicate the clearing of the previously submitted plan. Just make sure the previously submitted column has a box checked.

Box 14 Other

Only complete this box when making changes to the previously submitted information. If possible, complete box 14 on Copies B, C, 1, and 2 of Form W-2c only, not on Copy A.

Boxes 15-20 State/Local Taxes

If the only information being corrected is information related to state and local taxes, do not submit a W-2C to the SSA. Only send the form to the associated state or local agency, while making sure to distribute the W-2C the employee as well.

For more information about state reporting, check out our W-2 State Reporting Guide.

With over 20+ codes that can appear in Box 12 and each employee not limited to only one code. We recommended following our W-2 Box 12 Code Guidance for a breakdown of each individual code.

BoomTax, The Boom Post, and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors prior to engaging in any transaction.

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