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 1099 software > Learning Center > General Instructions > W-2

Substitute forms

paper filing

The W-2/W-3 forms are different from the 1099 information returns in that you may use an acceptable substitute Form W-2 that complies with the rules in Pub. 1141, General Rules and Specifications for Substitute Forms W-2 and W-3. The substitute forms must be exact replicas of the official IRS forms with respect to layout and content because they will be read by scanner equipment.

Form W-2 (Copy A) and Form W-3 may be generated using a laser-printer by following all guidelines and specifications. The printing of the data should be in blank-ink, centered within the boxes. The size of the variable data must be printed in a font no smaller than 10-point.

Employers who file with the SSA electronically or on paper may design their own statements to furnish to employees.

logos, slogans and advertisements

Some Forms W-2 that include logos, slogans, and advertisements (including advertisements for tax preparation software) may be confused with questionable Forms W-2. An employee may not recognize the importance of the employee statement for tax reporting purposes due to the use of logos, slogans, and advertisements. Thus, with the exception of the electronic tax logo (i.e., the IRS e-file logo), the IRS has determined that slogans, advertising, and other logos will not be allowed on Forms W-3, Copy A of Forms W-2, or any employee statements reporting wages paid during the 2010 calendar year, and thereafter. The IRS e-file logo on the IRS official employee copies may be included, but it is not required, on any of the substitute form copies.

electronic filing

Employers must file Forms W-2 (Copy A) with the SSA electronically if they file 250 or more calendar year Forms W-2 (Copy A) during a calendar year unless the IRS granted a waiver.

Employers with fewer than 250 Forms W-2 are encouraged to electronically file Forms W-2 (Copy A) with the SSA. Doing so will enhance the timeliness and accuracy of forms processing.

Electronic filers do not file a paper Form W-3.

extension of time for W-2

Forms W-2 (Copy A) prepared on paper and/or electronically must be filed with the SSA. IRS/ECC does, however, process waiver requests (Form 8508, Request for Waiver From Filing Information Returns Electronically) and extension of time to file requests (Form 8809, Application for Extension of Time To File Information Returns) for Forms W-2(Copy A) and requests for an extension of time to furnish the employee copies of Form W-2.

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