W-2 E-filing guide: Brush up before you file

Most employers are probably familiar with the e-filing process. However, mistakes can be expensive and draw unwanted attention from the IRS. With that in mind, even if you’ve e-filed your W-2s before, it’s still a good idea to review the process and ensure you’re following the right steps. The more accurate you are upfront, the less likely you are to have mistakes to fix later. This is especially true since some things may look slightly different this year.

This tutorial is for W-2s e-filers who format their files according to the Social Security Administration’s EFW2 file formatting specs.

Step 1: Navigating to the wage file upload page

The SSA has redesigned its website. The drop-down menu to find employer services is gone. Instead, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Services for employers & businesses.

Thankfully, everything after the SSA’s redesigned homepage should look familiar.

To get to the wage file upload page:

FLSA Compliance D
  • Click on the Business Services Online blue inset box on the right.
  • Select Log in to continue logging on and enter your user ID and password. Reminder: Passwords expire every 90 days, so if you need a new one, get it now. Read the user certification, check the box and hit the Log in button again.
  • You’ve landed at the BSO Main Menu Select the Report Wages to Social Security link.
  • The Wage Reporting Attestation page is next. To get to the EWR home page, read User Certification for Electronic Wage Reporting and click I Accept Once at the EWR home page, select the Upload Formatted Wage File tab—it’s the third tab in from the left—to access the wage file upload program.
  • To start the wage file upload process, select the Submit a Formatted Wage File A box connected to the tab should appear once you click on the Upload Formatted Wage File tab.

Step 2: Using the file upload function

W-2-e-filing-guide-450x350px-2The system displays the formatted wage file upload page in stages:

  • At the first screen underneath the Social Security logo, you’ll see File Upload, in bold and underlined.
  • Click on the radio button W-2/W-3 forms for tax year 2022 or previous tax years (EFW2).
  • Choose a file to upload by hitting the Browse box to select a wage file from your computer; files must have a .txt or .zip extension.
  • Hit the Upload File button at the bottom left of the page.

If your wage files don’t contain errors and were uploaded successfully, you’ll receive a wage file identifier. A WFID is your e-filing receipt and you should retain it, along with all the other acknowledgments, with your records.

Step 3: Fixing mistakes

The SSA analyzes your uploaded files for errors as part of the upload process.

More than half the tutorial’s 27 pages are devoted to errors and how to correct them. Visuals speak louder than words here, and the SSA includes screenshot after screenshot of possible errors and how to correct them.

You’ll be notified right away of errors. Fix them and resubmit within 45 days. To resubmit, click on the Response to Resubmission Notice radio button. The system will then display the Response to a Resubmission Notice section.

Tip: You can avoid most errors by using the SSA’s AccuWage Online app before you file.

Need additional guidance? You can review the SSA’s 27-page tutorial document here.