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Managing W-2 Disbursement

W-2s must be distributed to employees by January 31st. Forms can be handed directly to your employees or mailed, whichever is most convenient. Electronic copies are acceptable, but it is recommended to also provide a paper copy.

Employees are not always diligent about informing their former employer of an address change, so it is common to receive undelivered W-2s back from the post office. If you have contact information for the former employee, reach out and try to get an updated address. If you are unable to obtain a new address, keep the form in the former employee's personnel file. Employers are required to make a good faith effort to deliver the W-2. A W-2 reflecting the employee's last known address and marked with the post office returned stamp will serve as proof of a good faith effort.

If an employee loses their W-2, make a photocopy of your employer copy and write Reissued Statement at the top of the form. This will notify the IRS that the original copy was lost and could be submitted fraudulently by another person. Your payroll provider can also provide a copy, but will often charge an additional fee. Payroll On Time provides additional copies free of charge.

If an employee notifies you of an error on their W-2, contact your payroll provider immediately with the details of the error. Most payroll companies have filed the W-2 by the time the employee receives it, so an amended form will need to be prepared. An amended W-2 (also known as a W-2c) reports changes only, so the employee will need to keep their original W-2 and file both the original and the amended form with their personal tax return.

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