So, you made a mistake on an employee’s Form W-2. Don’t panic. You can correct Form W-2, even after filing it with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
When do I need to make a Form W-2 correction?
You need to create an amended W-2 form if you make an error on Form W-2. Common errors on Form W-2 include incorrect names, Social Security numbers, or amounts.
You can correct forms that you sent to employees and filed with the SSA.
How to correct W-2 form
To create a corrected W-2 after filing, you need to use IRS Form W-2c, Corrected Wage and Tax Statements.
You can use Form W-2c to correct a variety of errors on Form W-2, including:
- Incorrect employee name or Social Security number
- Incorrect employee address
- Incorrect tax year
- Incorrect employer identification number (EIN)
- Incorrect employee earnings or tax withholdings
- Two forms for an employee were filed under an EIN when only one should have been filed
- Two forms for an employee were filed under an EIN, but the wages on one were incorrect
When should I not use Form W-2c?
If you filed a Form W-2 with the SSA showing an incorrect employee address but all of the other information is correct, do not file Form W-2c with the SSA.
If the address was incorrect on the copies you gave to your employee, you must do one of the following:
- Issue a new Form W-2 containing the correct information and indicate “REISSUED STATEMENT” on the new copies (do not send Copy A to the SSA)
- Issue a Form W-2c to the employee showing the correct address in box b, but do not send Copy A to the SSA
- Reissue Form W-2 with the incorrect address to the employee in an envelope showing the correct address
Again, do not send Copy A to the SSA if the correction is only for an employee address issue.
If you find an error on Form W-2 after you issue it to your employee but before you send it to the SSA, do not use Form W-2c. Instead, on the incorrect Form W-2, check “void” on Copy A. Then, prepare a new Form W-2 with the correct information. Write “CORRECTED” on the employee copies and give them to the employee. Then, send the correct version of Copy A to the SSA (do not write “CORRECTED” on this copy).
Also, do not use Form W-2c to report corrections to an employee’s back pay.
How do I fill out Form W-2c
If you need to fill out Form W-2c, you must first purchase copies of the form. There is a version of the form on the IRS website, but it is for informational purposes only. Do not download and print the form. Instead, buy the W-2 correction form from the IRS or an authorized seller, such as an office supply store.
When you fill out Form W-2c, use black ink in 12-point Courier font, if possible.
The way you fill out Form W-2c depends on what error you need to correct on Form W-2. To find specific Form W-2c instructions, consult the corrected W-2 instructions in the General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3.
When to submit Form W-2c
You should submit Form W-2c as soon as possible after you discover the error on Form W-2.
When you send Form W-2c to the SSA, you must also file Form W-3c. Form W-3c is the transmittal form for Form W-2c, just like Form W-3 is the transmittal form for Form W-2. You must submit a single Form W-3c for each group of Forms W-2c that you send. You have to file Form W-3c even if you are correcting something that is not an amount.
You can also e-file Forms W-2c and W-3c. However, you are not required to e-file unless you have to file 250 or more Forms W-2c.
Will I face penalties?
You might be subject to penalties for filing a Form W-2 with incorrect information. The IRS has the right to charge penalties for forms with incorrect information. You might be exempt from the penalties if you can show reasonable cause.
You can find more information about the penalties in the instructions for Form W-2.
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This article is updated from its original publication date of 2/8/2011.