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Types of paper available for printing W-2 forms


If you are subscribed to the QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Enhanced Service or the QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Standard Service, you can print W-2 forms in either of the following papers:


Note: QuickBooks Desktop prints W-2 forms that comply with the guidelines outlined in IRS publication 1141: General Rules and Specifications.

Blank / perforated paper

You may print government accepted black and white laser W-2 Copy A and W-3 forms on plain paper (there is no need to buy preprinted red W-2 Copy A or W-3 forms). The IRS requires the use of perforated paper for any Employee Copy W-2 that is printed on plain paper. You must print these blank paper W-2 forms using black ink. Blank perforated paper provides a professional look and guarantees that forms are easily separable by your employees. Perforated paper works with matching envelopes, making it easy to mail employee copies.

Important information

  • The SSA (Social Security Administration) approves Intuit's W-2 (Copy A) and W-3 each year in accordance with IRS Publication 1141, General Rules and Specifications for Substitute Forms W-2 and W-3. A copy of the approval notice for the form currently supported in the product is available in the Clickable Forms > W-2. Only W-2 (Copy A) and W-3 need to be approved by the SSA. Employee and employer copies do not require approval.
  • QuickBooks Desktop's "Blank Paper" form conforms to SSA and IRS standards of a "laser-printed form" if printed on an ink jet or laser printer supported by your version of Microsoft Windows. In accordance with the requirements in IRS Publication 1141, you must print this form using black ink on 8.5" x 11" white paper. To avoid processing delays caused by scanning malfunctions, we recommend paper that is 18-lb. weight or higher.
  • The W-2 (Copy A) includes the word "Void" on the top of the form. As detailed in IRS Publication 1141, we do not print a checkbox in the "Void" area of Form W-2 (Copy A). The SSA electronically scans submitted forms, and any markings in this area will void the form. If you want to void a printed W-2 Form (Copy A), place an X to the right of the word "Void" on the form.
  • QuickBooks Desktop payroll subscribers can print their W-2 forms on blank paper, even Copy A, which traditionally needs red ink. Our forms print in black, and both the IRS and the Social Security Administration accept these forms.
  • QuickBooks Desktop payroll subscribers can also print their W-3 forms on blank paper. Your forms print in black, and both the IRS and the Social Security Administration accept these forms.
  • The IRS requires that the Form W-2 copies that you provide to your employees be easy to separate or already separated. The Intuit Marketplace sells laser W-2 blank perforated paper and envelope kits for this purpose.

Preprinted (Standard) W-2 Forms

  • QuickBooks Desktop prints two W-2s per page and does not work with preprinted forms that have more than two W-2s per page. You can use W-2 forms purchased from Intuit or any approved third-party vendors. Check out our Form W-2 Kits at the Intuit Marketplace.
  • The preprinted W-2 forms supplied by the IRS are not designed to work with QuickBooks Desktop or any other software program. Consequently, the W-2 information will not print properly on the preprinted W-2 form supplied by the IRS. According to the IRS, their preprinted W-2 forms are intended to be completed by pen or by typewriter, not by a software program.

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