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Global Work Glossary

What is Form W-3 and what role does it serve?

Form W-3, the Transmittal of Income and Tax Statements, is a crucial tax form that employers in the United States must file with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the IRS. It serves to report aggregate earnings and tax withholdings for up to 50 individual employees. Here's a detailed overview:

Purpose of Form W-3:

Form W-3 is submitted annually by employers along with one or multiple W-2 forms. While Form W-2 reports earnings for individual employees, Form W-3 combines all employee earnings in one place. Even if an employer only needs to submit one W-2, it's necessary to file a W-3.

Sections of Form W-3:

Form W-3 consists of multiple sections: Boxes A to H: These boxes include employer information and details such as the employer's identification number, name, and address. Boxes 1 to 19: These boxes contain employee earnings and tax information, including wages, tips, tax withholdings, Medicare wages, and Medicare taxes withheld.

Filling Out Form W-3:

To complete Form W-3 accurately, employers must follow several steps: Access the Form: Download the form from the IRS website or complete it electronically through Business Services Online. Fill Out Employer Information: Provide employer identification information, including the employer's EIN, name, and address. Calculate W-2 Totals: Review all W-2s to calculate totals for wages, tips, tax withholdings, and other relevant information. Fill Out Employee Earnings and Tax Information: Include detailed employee information such as names, Social Security numbers, earnings, and taxes withheld. File Forms with the SSA: Forms can be filed electronically, by mail, or using payroll software.

Methods of Filing Form W-3:

Employers can file Form W-3 using various methods: Electronically: Employers can use Business Services Online to file electronically. By Mail: Forms can be printed, filled out manually, and mailed to the SSA. Using Payroll Software: Payroll software can assist in completing and filing tax forms. Filing Deadline: Form W-3 must be submitted before January 31st each year, along with the accompanying W-2s. Copies of Form W-2 must also be provided to employees before this date.

Difference Between W-3 and W-2:

While Form W-2 reports earnings for individual employees, Form W-3 summarizes all employee earnings and tax withholdings. The W-3 substantiates the information reported on individual W-2s.

Correction Forms:

If errors occur on Form W-3 or discrepancies exist between W-3 and W-2 forms, separate correction forms (Form W-3c and Form W-2c) must be filed.

Key Takeaways:

Form W-3 summarizes information from all W-2s and is submitted along with W-2 forms to the SSA. The filing deadline for Form W-3 is typically January 31st, but specific dates may vary. Employers are encouraged to file electronically, especially if they have 250 or more Forms W-2. Accuracy is crucial when completing Form W-3 to avoid processing delays or penalties. Form W-3 plays a vital role in summarizing employee earnings and tax withholdings for reporting purposes, and employers must ensure accurate and timely filing to comply with tax regulations.

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