Get Your Opinion Heard on Form W-2

The IRS is required, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork (pause for giggles from Payroll Professionals) to invite the public to comment on either proposed or continuing information collections.  This is all part of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.  This time around it is forms we all know and love.  The IRS is currently taking comments the following forms: W-2, W-2c, W-2A, W-2GU, W-2VI, W-3, W-3c, W-3cPR, W-3PR, and W-3SS.

They want to know how to improve the form so it is less burdensome. One area that immediately comes to mind is the lack of space for reporting the Additional Medicare Tax. In my opinion it would be better to have a separate box for the wages and the taxes. Just a reminder that box 9 is already taken as of 2017 so you can’t suggest using that box for anything.   You need to submit your comments directly to the IRS. They accept comments from any user so you don’t have to be an “accounting firm” or a “law firm”.  They want to hear from users. Written comments must be received on or before December 12, 2016 to be assured of consideration.  Written comments are directed to:

Tuawana Pinkston, Internal Revenue Service, Room 6526, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20224

Requests for additional information or copies of the collection tools should be directed to Sara Covington, Internal Revenue Service, Room 6526, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20224, or through the internet at


FLSA & Independent Contractors: DOL Provides Handy Tool

The subject of who is an employee and who can be classified as an independent contractor is a hot topic right now.  Both the IRS and the Department of Labor (DOL) are actively auditing employers to locate misclassified employees.  But how do you know if you are doing it correctly, when you classify a worker as an independent contractor?  The IRS has, of course, their 3 factor control tests that you can apply.  They also have the Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding. Employers can use this form to help themselves determine worker status or even submit it to the IRS and let them make the determination (not usually anyone’s first choice!).  But what about the DOL and the FLSA?  What do they offer to help determine a worker’s classification?

elaws is the main assistance program that helps employers navigate the complexities of the Fair Labor Standards Act requirements.  These interactive web pages answer various questions on things such as calculating overtime and who should be exempt.  Now the DOL has a elaws on Independent Contractors that give some simple but efficient information to help employers determine if the worker should be an employee or not. It explains the background of how the determinations are made as well as the six areas that are investigated to determine the worker’s status. Though a simple one-page elaws it does provide good information for employers.

Forms W-2 2016 Due Dates Update

form w-2 due dateEarlier this year the IRS announced that the due date for the copy of the Form W-2 required to be filed with the Social Security Administration changed. Instead of being due by the last day in February for paper filers or March 31st for electronic filers, all filers must submit the form by January 31st.  The change was made in an attempt to curtail excess fraud schemes that had cropped up around filing fraudulent 1040 forms and requesting nonexistent refunds.  The states, suffering from the same type of fraud, also began changing due dates as well.  Our white paper this time is a recap of the changes and lists the current due dates for the forms by state.  This list is current as of July 14th.  Of course, as legislatures return in the fall, we may expect more changes.  We will publish a final due date list in late December.

We hope you find the information useful. white paper forms w-2 due dates 2016


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National Taxpayer Advocate Wants to Hear From You

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson and Sen. Bob Casey, Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight, will hold a public forum to discuss what taxpayers want and need from the IRS to comply with their tax obligations. The public forum will be held Friday, April 8, at 10:00 a.m. in the auditorium of the Harrisburg University of Science & Technology, Harrisburg, PA. Members of the public and the media are invited to attend. Building on initiatives already implemented, the IRS for the past two years has been developing a “Future State” plan that envisions how it will operate in five years and beyond. It is continuing to develop a path for how it gets from its “Current State” to the “Future State,” including refinements to the vision along the way.  A central component of the plan is the creation of online taxpayer accounts as a convenient but non-exclusive channel through which taxpayers will be able to obtain information from and interact with the IRS.

The April 8 public forum will feature an invited panel of representatives from the small business and local taxpayer communities, including the following:

Members of the public will also have an opportunity to speak. Olson will conduct the hearing in collaboration with Sen. Casey, who represents Pennsylvania in the United States Senate. Senator Casey’s subcommittee is responsible for IRS oversight. Local Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) staff will be available to talk with attendees about unresolved tax issues and help determine if their situation qualifies for TAS assistance. TAS generally is unable to assist taxpayers with return preparation questions, but can provide assistance to taxpayers who have already filed their returns with the IRS for the current or past years and are experiencing problems that meet its case-acceptance criteria. The public forum will take place in the auditorium of the Harrisburg University of Science & Technology, 326 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA  17101. For information about the forum, go to

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Age OId Question…How Should I Handle Duplicate W-2 Requests?

It is that time of year again where current employees and especially former employees want duplicate copies of their Form W-2.  Although we do our best to confirm addresses etc. it never fails that a certain number of forms will get “lost in the mail”.  So with the high amount of imposter fraud going on with W-2s what procedures should you have in place to ensure to protect this information while providing customer service to employees and former employees?  I have always advocating having a written procedure in place for issuing duplicate Forms W-2. Whether you can do them electronically or not, you need to know who has access to what when it comes to this form. I use a standard request form (see attached pdf) for all employees, current and former.  No other form can be used or will be accepted.  They cannot email me a request (but they can send the completed form via email as a pdf attachment) and I do not take “phone orders”.  They must complete the entire form in order to get the copy, including signing the form with a full signature. No exceptions.  They must furnish their name, social security number and badge number if current.  If a former employee and requesting an address change, they must provide picture identification such as a driver’s license which shows that address or I need a bill with that address and name such as a gas or electric bill. If they are asking just to have it resent to the same address I will do that without ID since I already sent it once. The IRS is clear on what you can and cannot do when it comes to duplicates…anything as long as it is within reason.  Asking for identification is definitely within reason. If they do come to pick it up in person, they have to show their ID at that time. If requesting the W-2 to be mailed, they must furnish me with a copy of it when they submit the request.  With the fraud we have today, it is always reasonable to protect this valuable information.

Request for Duplicate Form W-2
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Pay Stubs are Not W-2s–Duh?

I received an update recently from the Colorado Department of Revenue on a blog post they did on January 6th concerning paystubs and Forms W-2. 2015 form w-2 Now in my payroll departments I have always stated emphatically in my year end memo that you can not interchange the two forms and you cannot submit your taxes using the paystub.  But the problem seems to be that some tax preparation services are advertising “Bring us your pay stubs and we’ll file your tax return.”  So it seems that payroll departments need to gently remind their customers that you have to wait until the W-2s are released by payroll before you can file either on paper or electronically.

Earlier Filing of Forms W-2 is Here

If you had attended any of my year end webinars you would have found out that the IRS was discussing moving the due date of the Forms W-2 from the current date of March 31 (if electronic filing) or last day in February (if filing on paper).  The discussion is over and the new regs have been released.  Effective for the 2016 Forms W-2 filed in 2017, the due date is now January 31st for filing with the Social Security Administration regardless of method used to file.  The reason for this change is simple…to prevent theft.  An audit of the IRS back in 2012 discovered that over six billion dollars was lost to fraudulent filing of tax returns.  Since the IRS works on the give first and verify later type of refunding (otherwise you would have to wait for your refund until June of each year) this type of fraud is hard to detect.  The IRS was able to recoup over $20 billion of potential fraud even using this method.  But the only way the IRS can totally prevent this type of fraud is by two ways.  The first way is to delay refunding any taxes until after they have received the info from the employer.  This means tax refunds would not go out until June or July of  each year.  Something that would drive the “villagers” to take up pitchforks and torches.  The second way  is to get the info from employers earlier than March 31st. And that is the way they have chosen to go.  So put it on your year end calendar for 2016–W-2s due are due to both employees and the SSA on January 31st.


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No New Schedule B

I am getting lots of questions on whether or not there is also a new Schedule B to go along with the 2015 Form 941–There is not.  The Schedule B does not need to be updated every year since there is no date on it. In fact the form was dated 2008 until 2014 when they finally updated it just because everyone was getting confused. I checked the IRS’ draft forms and there are no drafts pending either. So for now use the 2014 version of the Schedule B.

IRS Releases 2015 Form 941 and Instructions

The IRS has released the 2015 version of the Form 941 and the accompanying instructions.  There appear to be no changes to either the form from the draft version we saw late last year or to the general instructions.  I will be reviewing the form later today as well as the instructions so if there are any minor changes I will post them tomorrow.