Mark your calendar. By Jan. 31, employees must have their W-2s, and the IRS must have the fourth-quarter 941 form, and annual 940, 944 and 945 forms. Here’s what you must do now:
√ If you need more time to file W-2s or 1099s, request an extension by filing Form 8809 with the IRS now.
√ Renew third-party designee status on Forms 940 and 945.
√ Review states’ mandatory e-filing thresholds for W-2s.
√ Review wage and tax categories. Before processing W-2s and the fourth-quarter 941, verify that the general ledger employer/employee withholding liability accounts balance. Make correcting journal entries for out-of-balance situations caused by year-end adjustments.
√ Complete your fourth-quarter 941 first, then balance the 941 and W-2 totals. What must balance: Social Security and Medicare wages/taxes and federal income tax withheld.
√ Use the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) free Accuwage software to check balances before distributing W-2s. Access Accuwage here.
√ Verify data before a preliminary printing of W-2s on plain paper. Watch: Employees’ Social Security numbers, employees whose wages exceed the 2012 Social Security wage base, benefits reported in Boxes 10 and 12, check marks in Box 13 and state/local totals. Match totals to a reconciliation worksheet.
√ Check that employees sign requests for duplicate or corrected W-2s and that signatures are legitimate. This ensures that ex-spouses haven’t slipped one by employees.
√ For corrected W-2s issued to employees prior to filing, check the Void Box on Copy A, and insert “Corrected” at the top of Copies B, C and 2.
√ Notify the mailroom of the date W-2s will be mailed. Remind mailroom personnel to have sufficient postage in the postage machine.