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What is e-filing?

What Is E-filing for Payroll Forms?

Wouldn’t it be nice to save time, space, and paper when filing payroll forms with the government? You can save all those things when you e-file.

So, what is e-filing, and how do you do it?

What is e-filing?

There are forms related to payroll that you must regularly file with the federal government. You might also need to file forms with your state government. You can mail the forms, but you also have the option to file them electronically, known as e-filing.

With e-filing, form submission takes place online. You can submit some forms yourself, but you might need SaaS payroll services that file payroll forms for you.

E-filing definition graphic

Why should you e-file?

E-filing has many benefits.

Electronic filing reduces the amount of physical paperwork your business handles. While you still have to fill out the information on the forms you e-file, you don’t need paper copies. Without paper copies, you can stay more organized and save on the cost of buying forms.

Filing online accelerates the whole process. Government agencies receive your forms faster and processing time is reduced.

When you file electronically, you receive an acknowledgment that the government agency has your forms. Because everything is done online, the acknowledgment comes soon after you submit. You don’t have to worry about your forms disappearing.

E-filing is also accurate. There are fewer transcription errors than with traditional paper filing.

Payroll forms to e-file

The payroll-related forms you can e-file include Forms W-2 and W-3 and Forms in the 94x series (including Forms 940, 941, and 944).

Forms W-2 and W-3

Form W-2 has information about each employee’s wages and the taxes you withheld from those wages. Form W-3 is the transmittal form for all your business’s Forms W-2.

You can e-file Forms W-2 and W-3 though the Social Security Administration’s Business Services Online.

Using the Business Services Online, you can submit and resubmit files. You can also check the status, errors, and notice information of your submissions.

You can complete up to 50 Forms W-2 online. Or, you can upload your Form W-2 files from your payroll software if the files are in the correct format. You can file corrected forms (Forms W-2c and W-3c) online as well.

You first must register for an account. You can do this online, or you can start registration over the phone. There is a handbook that can help you get set up.

The e-filing submission deadline is January 31.

You can find more information on the Social Security Administration’s website.

Forms 940, 941, 944

You will use either Form 941 or Form 944 to report the amounts you withheld for or contributed to federal income tax and FICA taxes. You will use Form 940 to report your federal unemployment taxes (FUTA taxes).

You must file these forms with the IRS. To complete the IRS e-filing process, you must use a provider or software that is authorized to e-file.

Form 940 is due annually on January 31. Form 944 is also due on January 31 if you must file it. Most employers file Form 941 instead of Form 944. Form 941 is due quarterly on January 31, April 30, July 31, and October 31.

You can also electronically remit your tax liabilities by using the electronic federal tax payment system (EFTPS).

You can find more information on the IRS website.

Patriot’s Full Service Payroll will make payroll form filing easy. We’ll file the forms on your behalf, so you don’t have to. Try the software and eliminate one more of your employer responsibilities.

This article is updated from its original publication date of 7/2/2012.

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