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2021 Deadline for W-2s Closer Than You Think

2021 Deadline for W-2s Closer Than You Think

The Internal Revenue Service is giving employers a friendly nudge to remind them that their Forms W-2 and other wage statements have to be filed by Feb. 1, 2021, to avoid penalties.

Making the deadline will also help the IRS prevent fraud.

A 2015 law made Jan. 31 the permanent deadline to file copies of Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statements, and Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, with the Social Security Administration.

The calendar for the upcoming tax season, however, shows Jan. 31 is a Sunday, pushing the due date to the next business day: Monday, Feb. 1.

Certain Forms 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income and Forms 1099-NEC, Non-Employee Compensation, are also normally due to taxpayers by Jan. 31. However, this tax season that too has been pushed back to the next business day on Feb. 1.

Various other due dates related to Form 1099-MISC, including due dates to the IRS, can be found in the instructions on IRS.gov.

The normal January filing date for wage statements means the IRS can more easily detect refund fraud, with more time to verify the income that taxpayers report on their tax returns. Employers can help support that process—and avoid penalties—by filing the forms on time and without errors.

Start early for the best results

Good preparation now can help businesses avoid problems later. For example, employers can get an early start verifying or updating employee information such as names, addresses and Social Security numbers or individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers.

In addition, company administrators should ensure their firm’s account information is current and active with the Social Security Administration before January, and should order paper Forms W-2 early if needed.

Automatic extensions of time to file Forms W-2 are not available.

The IRS will only grant extensions for very specific reasons. The instructions for Form 8809, Application for Time to File Information Returns have details.

For more information, read the instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3 and the Information Return Penalties page on IRS.gov.


Bob Williams

Forget genes; I’ve got words in my DNA. Communication has been part of who I am nearly all my life. From a long career in radio news to another one in newspapers – and a University of Georgia journalism degree sandwiched between the two – language has been my life. I’ve also been fortunate to have learned the tax business from the ground up here at Drake, starting with 1040.com online forms some years ago before moving on to work on the Web. In all things tax-ish, we aim to give you tools you can use.