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6 helpful votes

E-file W2 and W3 in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll

Learn how to e-file your W2, W3 forms with QuickBooks Desktop Payroll.

Do you want to e-file your Copy A of W2 and W3 forms with the Social Security Administration (SSA)? You can use QuickBooks Desktop Payroll. We show you how.


To e-file in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll, you need:

  • An active QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll subscription
  • A supported version of QuickBooks Desktop
  • An internet connection
  • The most recent payroll update

You don't need to enroll with the SSA in order to e-file Forms W2/W3

Set up your W2 and W3 forms

E-file your Copy A of W-2 and W-3 forms in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll.

  1. From the toolbar of QuickBooks Desktop, select Employees, then Payroll Center.
  2. Open the QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Setup. In the Payroll Center, go to the File Forms tab. From the Other Activities list at the bottom, select Change Filing Method, and continue with the next steps below.
    Change filing method in Quickbooks Desktop
  3. Select Continue.
  4. Select Federal Form W-2/W-3 from the list of forms and select Edit.
    Select w2 and w3 filing methods in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Setup
  5. Select E-file and select Finish. This will open the enrollment instructions which you can read and print.
    Change w2 and w3 filing method in QuickBooks Desktop
  6. Close the View Enrollments window.
  7. Select Finish Later.

Prepare and e-file your Copy A of W2s and W3

Few things to know

  • QuickBooks Desktop Payroll can only process up to $9,999,999.99 in any one box on a form. When you process W-2 Forms, QuickBooks Desktop Payroll will also process the Form W-3 which is a summary of the W-2s. If at least one value or box in your W-2 or W-3 Forms is greater than $9,999,999.99, process the forms by batch in Step 3. The IRS accepts batch filing.
  • If a Warning window appears, there are errors in the form that you need to fix. Select View Errors to fix the errors in the form. After fixing the error, click Submit Form.
  • If you select to remember your contact information, and you later contact the agency and change this information, remember to update the login information that you saved.

Prepare your forms

  1. Select Employees, then Payroll Tax Forms and W-2s, then Process Payroll Forms.
  2. Select the W-2 Form from the list of forms: In the File Forms section, select Annual Form W-2/W-3 - Wage and Tax Statement/Transmittal and select Create Form.

    Create w2 and w3 tax forms in QuickBooks Desktop


    • In finding the form, use the scroll bar to scroll down the list.
    • If you don't see the form in the list, the form may be inactive. To activate the form, select the Forms drop-down arrow, and choose Make a New Form Active. Select the State drop-down arrow and choose Federal. Select the W-2 form, and select Add Form. You should now be able to find and select the W-2 form in the File Forms section.


Make a w2 or w3 tax form active in QuickBooks Desktop

Submit your forms

  1. In the Process W-2s, select All Employees or select Employee's Last Name (choose From and To) to file by batch.
  2. In the Select Filing Period section, in the Year field, enter the year of the form you are filing and click OK.
  3. In the Select Employees for Form W-2/W-3 window, select the employees you are filing for. You can also select Mark All to select all employees displayed.
  4. Select on the E-File Federal Forms.
  5. Enter the Phone Number and the email address of your company on the login screen. Intuit uses your email address to notify you when your submission is processed by the agency. The Phone Number is included in the electronic transmission to the agency.
  6. Click Submit.

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