Getting the W2 right

Let’s face it, tax documents can seem nebulous and convoluted, and even seasoned accountants may encounter problems with forms that change, merge and create new variants every year. One of the most important ones is also that which is disseminated most often among employers: The W2. This is the standard tax document all staff receive in the beginning of a calendar year, no later than the end of January, that pertains to the previous fiscal year’s earnings. The wealth of data included herein must be as exact as possible, but there are common problems that all employers may encounter. The right form The W2 does not change in drastic ways that often, but there are some aspects of the paper that make it important to check for correctness. First, the year is always different. Never use the previous year’s version, or else this could cause serious filing problems for the individual. Next, never use the online version. The IRS has a facsimile on its website, but there are designated places where these forms can be obtained, like office supply stores, accountants, certified tax software and by mail from the IRS. The red ink used on the digital form will never transfer correctly from a printed version, and business should not try it. The right completion Getting the right form is only the first step, though still important. Filling them all needs to be just as precise, though, and the number of errors that can be made are staggering. When writing in data, only black ink will be accepted. Printing in any other color will immediately create a problem with the form. Next, using the right size font will make a big difference in whether the IRS will be able to process a form. Other errors like improperly placing a decimal, writing an employee or business name wrong or leaving some areas incomplete can also create big problems. Be sure that all withholdings have been correctly entered and that all data is keyed properly. Finally, be aware that a W3 is sent by a business to the IRS, along with W2 forms, which must also go to individual workers. Additionally, states require various other forms as well. Sending the right forms to the wrong place will not help anyone involved, and will only serve to further complicate the process.

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