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APA Congress: Big changes ahead for 2014 W-2s

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in Office Management,Payroll Management

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Mark Ruley, speaking at the American Payroll Association’s 32nd Annual Congress in May, highlighted imminent changes at the SSA that will affect your 2014 wage reporting.

W-2 reporting for 2014 and beyond. For the 2013 tax year, 87% of W-2s were filed electronically, said Ruley, the deputy director of the SSA’s Division of Programmatic Applications Support. This has strained a system that was originally built for mag tapes and diskettes.

It has also forced the SSA’s hand. The SSA no longer accepts W-2 files with invalid Record Identifier codes, Ruley said. Further, he said that the SSA will reject files that contain critical errors. Critical errors include errors in the tax year, Employer Identification Numbers, employment type and tax jurisdiction.

Key: Once a file is rejected, you become a nonfiler and that’s your headache, not the SSA’s, Ruley warned.

W-2 files will also be rejected for these monetary errors:

  • Social Security tax is greater than zero and Social Security wages are zero
  • Medicare tax is greater than zero and Medicare wages are zero
  • Medicare wages and tips are less than Social Security wages and tips.

Accuwage. Ruley stressed that due to the strain on the SSA’s systems, it will no longer correct your files. That puts a premium on you getting it right the first time. Fortunately, the SSA’s Accuwage app allows you to check your files before you upload them.

Changes are coming to Accuwage, too, he added. The SSA is planning to roll out a redesigned Accuwage welcome screen this month. Other changes are scheduled for October. Changes to note: The Start Testing button will be disabled until you select a radio button under the “Select Submission Type” heading, and if Accuwage detects a critical error, it will stop and you won’t be able to upload your files to the SSA.

Finally, Ruley said that in October, the SSA is planning to add a mouse-over capability, called a tooltip, which should make Accuwage easier to use.

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