What is a W-2c?

A W-2c form is an IRS tax document used to correct or amend a W-2. It is also called a Corrected Wage and Tax Statements Form. A W-2 needs to be amended with a W-2C when an error is made when reporting employee income. Typical errors found on W-2s include incorrect names, amounts, or Social Security numbers.

A W-2c can be used to correct forms that were given to employees and were filed with the Social Security Administration.

How to Correct W-2 Form

Corrections on a W-2 need to be corrected on Form W-2C after they were filed with the IRS. The Form W-2c is used to correct such errors as:

  • An incorrect name of an employee
  • A wrong Social Security number
  • An incorrect address of an employee
  • An incorrect tax year
  • An error on the employer identification number (EIN)
  • An incorrect amount of an employee’s earnings or tax withholdings
  • Accidently filing two forms for an employee under an EIN when only one filing was necessary.
  • Mistakenly filing two forms for the same employee, but the wages on one were not correct.

When Should I Not Use Form W-2c?

The Form W-2c, called the Corrected Wage and Tax Statement, is used to provide an updated version of your W-2. You should not use a Form W-2c when a copy of the W-2 was only sent to your employee, if you have not submitted a copy to the Social Security Administration.

On the incorrect copy of the W-2, put a check in the “void” box on Copy A (this is the copy that you are going to submit to the Social Security Administration). Create a new W-2 using the updated information. Write the word “CORRECTED” on the copy for the employee and then give it to your employee. Send the corrected version of Copy A directly to the SSA, but you do not want to write the word “CORRECTED” on it. Be sure not to use Form W-2c to correct any updates in back pay for any employee. Do not use the W-2c to report any errors on form W-2G.

How Do I Fill Out Form W-2c?

If Form W-2c is needed, you must buy copies of it. A version of it can be found on the IRS website, but it is only for informational purposes. Buy the form directly from the IRS or from a local office supply store.

When you fill out Form W-2c, only use black ink in a 12-point Courier font.

The way Form W-2c is filled out depends on which error needs to be corrected on Form W-2. Specific instructions can be found in the General Instructions provided for the Forms W-2 and W-3 webpage.

Your W-2c will vary in appearance from a standard W-2; which will have two columns, one labeled Previously reported and the other Correct information.

The SSA website enables e-filing your W-2c Forms when you use its W-2c Online application. With it, you can create, then save or print, and submit as many as 25 W-2c forms per submission, with a maximum of 50 saved/unsubmitted reports. The corrected copies must also be delivered to your employees shortly.

Two errors on a W-2 should not be corrected. If Box 2, which is the Federal Income Tax Withheld, reveals that too much was withheld for the employee’s taxes, do not correct it – a refund will be sent to the employee. If Box 2 reveals that not enough taxes were withheld, do not correct it – the employee will simply owe more in taxes.

If Box 6, which reports the amount of Medicare Tax Withheld, reveals that a wrong amount for the 0.9 percent Medicare tax has been withheld, don’t correct it, either – the employee is going to receive a refund or will owe more in taxes when filing. If Administrative errors were made in Box 2 or in Box 6 (typo, etc), a W2-c needs to be filed.

When to Submit Form W-2c

Form W-2c should be submitted immediately after discovering the mistake on Form W-2. When sending Form W-2c to the Social Security Administration, Form W-3c, which is the proper transmittal form, must also be filed with it. Send your completed W-2c forms to the Social Security Administration at the Data Operations Center, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18769-0001.

Will I face penalties

Penalties may be applied for filing a W-2 that has incorrect information. The penalties may be waived if you can show that there was a reasonable cause.

Dos and Don'ts of W-2c

  • Enter $0.00 in the right box if that is the result of your correction.
  • Use IRS Form 941X before April 30 when reporting incorrect amounts of underwithholding or overwithholding errors discovered on W2 forms.
  • Confirm that you reported the correct EIN.
  • It is not necessary to file a W2-c just to correct the address of an employee; instead, just provide another W2 that has the word REISSUED on it.

Reissuing W-2s

If requests are sent through an email, be sure that the email subject line reads “W2 Request.” If requests are sent via phone, establish a voicemail box extension that is dedicated for them. Employees should personally verify any requests to prevent possible identity theft or giving any unauthorized parties to W2 information. Reissued W2s should be given to employees personally only upon receiving a signature and a photo ID. When that’s not possible, overnight the forms at the employee’s expense.

If you need help in submitting W-2cs to the IRS, you can post your legal need on the UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel provides you with the top five percent of lawyers who graduated from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law, and who have an average of 14 years of legal experience. Many of our lawyers have worked with or on behalf of such companies as Google, Stripe, and Twilio.