You have an extra weekend to ensure that employees’ W-2s are correct. Since Jan. 31 is a Saturday, employees must receive their W-2s by Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. The IRS must receive your fourth-quarter Form 941, and annual Forms 940, 944 and 945 by that date, too. Here’s what you need to do now.
√ If you need an extension of time to file W-2s or 1099s, file 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 flag critical errors before distributing W-2s.
√ Verify data before a preliminary printing of W-2s on plain paper. Watch: Employees’ Social Security numbers; employees whose wages exceed the 2014 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.
√ Verify 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.