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File your W-2 forms

Learn when and how to submit your W-2 forms to the IRS.

Sending your W-2 forms to the IRS on time is an important payroll task at the end of the year. Depending on your payroll product, we may do this for you, or you can file electronically.

Not sure if we file for you? Here’s how to find out.

Let’s get started.

What is the deadline to file my W-2s?

The deadline to file electronically is Thursday, January 28, 2021.

Do I need to file a W-3 with the Social Security Administration (SSA)?

You don’t need to file a W-3 with the SSA if you send your W-2s electronically. The W-2s go to both the IRS and the SSA.

How do I file my W-2s electronically?

Select your product below to get started. 

Note: Not sure which payroll service you have? Here's how to find which payroll service you have.

This includes:

  • QuickBooks Online Payroll Enhanced
  • QuickBooks Online Payroll Core with auto pay and file turned off
  • QuickBooks Online Payroll Premium with auto pay and file turned off
  • QuickBooks Online Payroll Elite with auto pay and file turned off

Step 1: E-file your W-2s

  1. Open QuickBooks Online.
  2. Select Payroll, then Overview.
  3. From Tasks, select the Show more dropdown to view all forms due.
  4. From W-2 Copies A & D, select File now.
  5. Select Annual Forms, then W-2 Copies A & D.
  6. Select Continue.
  7. If prompted, tell us whether or not one or more employees were active participants in a retirement plan during the tax year.
  8. On the Employer Copies: Form W-2 page, select View to open Acrobat Reader.
  9. Review and print Copy D (Employer's copy) for your records.
  10. Select Submit to authorize us to file Copy A of Form W-2 electronically for you.

Once we’ve processed your W-2 filing, we’ll send you an email letting you know it’s complete.
You can also check the status of your filing on the status page:

  1. Select Taxes, then Payroll Taxes.
  2. Select Payroll forms or filings, then W-2.

Step 2: Print your W-2s and send them to your employees

Now you can print your W-2 forms and send them to your employees by February 1. Your employees can also view their W-2s online in QuickBooks Workforce.

Step 1: Set up your W-2 E-filing

The first step to electronically file your W-2s is to set it up.

  1. Open QuickBooks.
  2. Select Employees, then Payroll Center.
  3. Open the QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Setup.
  4. From the Payroll Center, select the File Forms tab.
  5. From the Other Activities list at the bottom, select Change Filing Method.
  6. Select Continue.
  7. Select Federal Form W-2/W-3 from the list of forms, then select Edit.
  8. Select E-file, then Finish. This will open the enrollment instructions that you can read and print.
  9. Close the View Enrollments window.
  10. Select Finish Later.

Step 2: Create your W-2 Forms

Next, you’ll be able to create your W-2s.

  1. Select Employees, then Payroll Tax Forms and W-2s.
  2. Select Process Payroll Forms.
  3. From the File Forms section, select Annual Form W-2/W-3 - Wage and Tax Statement/Transmittal and select Create Form.

Step 3: Send your W-2s

Now you’re ready to send us your W-2s to file electronically.

  1. From Process W-2s, select All Employees to file by batch.
  2. From the Select Filing Period section, enter the year of the form you’re filing, and select OK.
  3. In the Select Employees for Form W-2/W-3 window, select the employees. You can also select Mark All to select all employees displayed.
  4. Select E-File Federal Forms.
  5. Enter your business phone number and email address.
  6. Select Submit.

Step 4: File your W-2s with your state

You may need to file your state W-2s separately.

Step 5: Print your W-2s and send them to your employees

Now you can print your W-2 forms and send them to your employees by February 1.

Step 6: Upload your W-2s to QuickBooks Workforce for your employees to view (optional)

You’ll need to upload the W-2s so your employees can view their W-2s online in QuickBooks Workforce.

You’ll need to file your W-2s and W-3s manually by February 1. See 2020 IRS W-2 filing instructions.

Step 1: E-file your forms

  1. Select the To Do tab.
  2. From the It's time to file forms section, select W-2 Copies A & D.
  3. Select Continue.
  4. If prompted, tell us whether one or more employees participated in a retirement plan outside during the year.
  5. On the Employer Copies: Form W-2 page, select View to open Acrobat Reader.
  6. Review and print Copy D (Employer's copy) for your records.
  7. Select Submit to authorize us to file Copy A of Form W-2 electronically for you.

Step 2: Print your forms and send them to your employees

Now you can print your W-2 forms and send them to your employees by February 1. Your employees can also view their W-2s online in QuickBooks Workforce.

Do you need to file your W-2s and W-3 manually?

See 2020 IRS W-2 filing instructions.

Have other W-2 questions?

See Get answers to your W-2 questions.

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