What is form W-3 & how to file it?

IRS form W-3

IRS form W-3 is used by employers to report an organization's combined employee income. Any organization that employs more than one individual on a W-2 basis must file Form W-3.

What is IRS Form W-3?

The IRS Form W-3 goes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The IRS is the federal body responsible for administering federal tax laws in the United States.

To help both employers and employees accurately pay taxes, the IRS has developed many different filing forms. Form W-3 is an IRS form that employers should be familiar with.

The SSA administers Social Security, a social insurance program that includes retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. Employers are generally responsible for withholding the applicable Social Security taxes from employee wages. The W-3 is also relevant for the SSA, not just the IRS.

Who needs to complete the IRS W-3 form?

If an employer sends out more than one Form W-2, they must also send a Form W-3 to combine the totals. 

How do you know if you need to file a W-2? 

Once an employee more has been paid more than $600 in wages in a year, their employer must file a Form W-2. This applies whether or not there been taxes and Social Security withheld from their pay.

What's included in the IRS W-3 form?

The IRS for W-3 includes:

  • Employer identification number (EIN)
  • Employer name
  • Employer address and zip code
  • Employer state ID number
  • Kind of employer (501c non-government, state/local non-501c, state/local 501c, the federal government, etc.)
  • Employer's phone and email

Employers must also specify how many total W-2 forms they've completed that year. by tallying up the following information from W-2 forms in order to provide totals for:

  • Wages, tips, and other compensation
  • Federal income tax withheld
  • Social Security wages
  • Social Security tax withheld
  • Medicare wages and tips
  • Medicare tax withheld
  • Social Security tips
  • Allocated tips
  • Dependent care benefits
  • Nonqualified plans
  • Deferred compensation
  • Third-party sick pay
  • Income tax withheld for third-party sick pay
  • Local wages and tips
  • Local income tax

How do employers submit the IRS W-3 form?

Employers must file Form W-3 by January 31 every year. This is also the deadline by which employees need to submit their W-2 forms. If needed, the IRS and SSA can double-check W-2 and W-3 forms against each other.

Employers can access the full Form W-3 from the IRS website. This IRS form is relevant for employers with more than one W-2 employee in a given year. The IRS also provides instructions for completing and filing the form. Both the W-2 and W-3 forms can be filed electronically via the SSA portal.

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