Early SSA filing deadline aimed at preventing fraud
January 18, 2017
By Tracey Lueken-Burds, CPP, Partner
This is the first year employers are required to file W-2s with the Social Security Administration (SSA) by January 31. Forms were always due to employees on January 31 for the preceding tax year, but they were not due to the SSA until the end of February if filing on paper, and the end of March if filing electronically. The early deadline also applies to some Forms 1099-MISC for reporting compensation to non-employees. Filing extensions will also be harder to come by. Only one 30-day extension will be granted and must be applied for as soon as necessary, but no later than January 31.
This change is part of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, enacted in December 2015 and is aimed at preventing fraudulent returns. While placing a quicker turnaround on employers and third parties, the earlier deadline will make it easier for the IRS to verify the legitimacy of returns. Pressure to quickly release refunds coupled with the two-month gap between individuals and the SSA receiving the forms made the system rife with fraud. In 2015, the IRS rejected or suspended 4.8 million suspicious returns and prevented $10.9 billion of fraudulent refunds from being paid. Now, identity thieves and other fraudulent filers will have a harder time passing as legitimate.
For more information on how to protect your business and employees from fraud, see the IRS resources linked below or contact your account representative: