W-2s: How Are You Spending Your Time This January?

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18072299_sMany employers are scrambling to produce W-2 forms and get them sent to their 2015 employees by January 31, 2016. While this is the most visible part of the process, there’s much more to it.

As employees, we know that we must submit W-2 forms for all jobs worked the previous year when filing our annual tax returns.  The W-2 form includes the total amount of taxable wages earned, federal and state taxes withheld, and Social Security contributions for that tax year.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers are required by law to provide all employees who worked for them during that tax year (even if the employee received only one paycheck) a copy of their W-2 form no later than January 31st of the following year. Employers must also submit a copy to the Social Security Administration (SSA) by February 29th, and keep a copy on file a minimum of four years.

Many employers offer an online alternative, where employees can log into a secure portal, download and print their W-2 forms, rather than waiting to have a paper copy mailed to them.

Outsourcing Alternatives

If your company has a large number of employees, seasonal workers, or high turnover, meeting deadlines and dealing with tax forms, calculations and filing requirements can prove to be a burden. Simply preparing and disseminating W-2s and answering employees’ questions about them can be a very time-consuming process each January.

Dealing with W-2s, W-4s and other forms is simple for companies that work with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO).  As the employer of record, the PEO assumes responsibility and liability for payment of wages, in addition to compliance with regulations governing the reporting and payment of federal and state taxes on wages paid to employees. Why not hand off W-4s, W-2s, and other employee-related paperwork to a PEO and spend the time focusing on growing your business?

Contact the author directly at amy.hervey@staffone.com.