Friday, June 10, 2011

SSA Issues 2011 Forms W-2 and W-2c Electronic Filing Specifications

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has released its W-2 and W-2c electronic filing specifications (specs) for the 2011 tax year [Social Security Publication Nos. 42-007 and 42-014].

Publication 42-007 is also known as Publication EFW2, Specifications for Filing Forms W-2 Electronically. Publication 42-014 is also known as Publication EFW2C, Specifications for Filing Forms W-2c Electronically.

Record Changes

W-2 electronic filing specs. The following new fields have been added to the W-2 electronic filing specs: (1) the field “Kind of Employer” has been added to the RE Employer Record (position 174); (2) the field “Cost of Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage” has been added to the RW Employee Record (positions 463-473) and the RT Total Record (positions 295-309); and (3) the field “Designated Roth Contributions Under a Governmental Section 457(b) Plan” has been added to the RO Employee Record (positions 111-121) and the RU Total Record (positions 145-159). These are required fields. None of the fields are valid for Puerto Rico employees. The new fields in (2) and (3) above may also not be used for Northern Mariana Islands employees.

Similar field changes were also made to the W-2c electronic filing specs.

Other Changes

Appendix A. Both publications have a list of resources in Appendix A that employers may refer to if they have any questions or need assistance. Several updates have been made to the contact information in Appendix A.

Appendix B. Appendix B of both publications is called “Correctable EFW2 Fields Through an EFW2C File.” This appendix has been revised to include a new money field.


The SSA reminds filers not to create a file that contains any data after the Final Record (RF Record). The submission will not be processed if it contains data after the RF Record.

The SSA reminds reporting agents to enter the submitter's telephone number and e-mail address in the appropriate positions. Failure to include the correct and complete submitter contact information may, in some cases, make it necessary for the SSA to reject the submission.

Third-party sick pay recap reports may not be filed electronically. These reports should be submitted on paper Forms W-2 and W-3.

An EFW2C file should be submitted as soon as possible after an error is discovered. Employers who file 250 or more Forms W-2c during a calendar year must file them electronically unless the IRS grants them a waiver. For purposes of the electronic filing requirement, only Forms W-2c from the immediate prior year are taken into account. For example, if an employer must file 200 Forms W-2c for the immediate prior year in March, and then discovers that another 100 Forms W-2c for the same year must be filed in August, only the 100 Forms W-2c filed in August must be filed electronically.

Important Dates

Business Services Online (BSO) filers may upload their files for the 2011 tax year beginning on Dec. 5, 2011. Electronic Data Transfer (EDT) filers may transmit their files beginning on Jan. 2, 2012. The W-2 electronic filing deadline is April 2, 2012.

Publications EFW2 and EFW2C are on the SSA's website.

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