IRS Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, is a tax form that’s required for every company that files at least one W-2 form. Form W-3 aggregates the wage and tax withholding data from all of the W-2 forms that a company files.
Say a company has 100 employees. The company will have to file 100 W-2 forms—one for each employee—but only one W-3 form. The W-3 form will show the sum totals for each box across the 100 different W-2 forms that the company is filing.
Who Needs to File Form W-3?
All employers who file at least one W-2 form need to also file a W-3 form. Companies need to file Form W-2 for any employee who is paid at least $600 in a year, so virtually all companies with at least one employee need to file a W-3.
If your company only has independent contractors and only files Form 1099, you do not need to file Form W-3.
Form W-3 requires employers to report:
- Total wages, tips, and other compensation paid to all employees
- Total federal income tax withholding for all employees
- Total wages subject to Social Security tax for all employees
- Total Social Security tax withholding for all employees
- Total wages subject to Medicare tax for all employees
- Total Medicare tax withholding for all employees
How to File Form W-3
The simplest way to file Form W-3 is to first prepare all of the W-2 forms your company needs to file. If you file these W-2 forms through the Social Security Administration’s Business Services Online (BSO) portal, a W-3 form will be created and filed for your company automatically.
Filing a paper W-3 is possible, but discouraged. Companies that file 250 or more W-2 forms must submit a waiver (Form 8508, Request for Waiver From Filing Information Returns Electronically) if they are unable to file via the BSO portal.
When Is Form W-3 Due?
Form W-3 must be filed by January 31 each year. This is the same as the deadline for filing W-2 forms and mailing copies of them to employees.
IRS Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, aggregates the information reported on all of a company’s W-2 filings. Companies only need to submit one W-3 form each year, regardless of how many employees they have. Form W-3 is generated automatically when companies file their W-2 forms through the Social Security Administration’s BSO portal.
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