People tend to make mistakes, even in legal forms and official documents they submit to the relevant authorities. It is especially disappointing if you have done the paperwork but did not manage to notice the mistake in time, and, as a result, your application got declined. However, there are legal ways to make amends to an already completed and submitted form, and any taxpayer should get acquainted with them.
Every employer is familiar with the Wage and Tax Statement (also known as Form W-2). It is the very basic form for reporting one’s tax returns to the IRS. The form is submitted by the employer annually on behalf of the employee. Social Security Administration (shortly SSA) is responsible for reviewing the form and making the necessary records in the employee’s personal file. So, if the responsible officer has accidentally made a mistake in your form or if you have one of the copies, you shall use Form W-2c to make the necessary corrections.
Below, we will tell how it works.
Unfortunately for the filers, there is a price set for making a mistake in an official tax document. However, the penalties only apply to those taxpayers who fail to file their corrected reports by January 31 of the current accounting period. The penalty amount depends directly on the number of days by which you have delayed the filing. Thus, the earlier you submit the corrections, the better.
To be exempt from any penalties, the filer should provide a reasonable explanation of why the mistake had occurred in the first place. Please note that the reasoning should be convincing to the IRS. Otherwise, they will both decline your application and fine you.
Sometimes, the employer would mail Form W-2c to the subject employee to correct the mistakes and not the SSA. The reasoning behind it is very simple: the employee probably knows their personal information and details better than anyone else. So, to avoid another possible mistake in an official document, the employer lets the worker fill out and file the form on their own.
We have outlined and put together a list of the most commonly made mistakes in the Wage and Tax Statement:
You need to obtain the relevant form template to be able to fill it out. The IRS only provides the electronic version of the form for informational purposes. That is why the original copy (Copy A) is presented in red ink.
You can either buy the template from the IRS or a licensed seller. We suggest you use our form-building software to create and customize the legal form you need.
In addition, we have created a comprehensive filing guide to help you get through the process effortlessly. Read the recommendations below to fill out the form successfully.
Identify the Employer
In the first blank box, you need to enter the employer’s business name, physical address, and ZIP code (or PO, if applicable). Below, you shall enter the Federal Employer’s Identification Number.
Insert the Corrected Monetary Amounts
Starting from the following part, you can insert the necessary correction to your Wage and Tax Statement. There will be two columns and two sets of data that you will need to fill in. Enter the previously stated data and then the corrected version in the columns, respectively. The first set of amendments concerns wages, including those for social security, medicare, tips, and compensations.
Choose and Amend the Payment Plan
In the next section, you need to indicate the corrections related to nonqualified plans (statutory, retirement, sick leave, and so on). Only fill out this section if mistakes were made in the original form. Otherwise, leave the fields empty.
Make the Name and SSN Corrections
You can use the following set of amendments to make corrections to the employee’s name and SSN. If the full legal name of the subject employee was spelled wrong, a digit from the SSN was missing, or the employee’s name had changed at the moment of the original Statement submission, you shall insert the corrected info here. Do not forget to indicate the accounting year you are making the corrections for.
Insert the Employee’s Correct Address
For example, let us imagine a situation when the employee’s physical and mailing address had changed, and the employer did not know about it. The employer inserted the old address, and the Statement thus became invalid. Now, the applicant shall insert the accurate address in the corresponding lines.
Provide the Correct Amount of Tax Withheld
If you have noticed that your employer had reported incorrect info about your federal, state, or local taxes withheld in the accounting year, you shall insert the corrected information in this set of sections. Do not forget to indicate the initially submitted info so that the SSA and the IRS knew where to make the corrections.
Complete Section 12 (if applicable)
Line 12 (and all its sections) can only be filled in and amended by a tax professional. There are specific codes applied to calculate the deductible income amounts in this section. Most of them relate to any extraordinary taxable or tax-exempt income, like uncontrolled social and life insurance, tips, various salary reductions, and compensation that do not fall in line with any other taxable income categories. If you need to make corrections in this section, better leave it to the tax professional or the company’s responsible officer.
Make Amends to the Submitted State Info
If you need to correct any personal info related to state taxation, please use this section to do so. You may amend the state’s name, EIN, wages, tips, other earnings, and the state tax amount withheld in the accounting year.
Correct the Submitted Locality Info
The same rule applies to the locality taxation data. If any of the above-mentioned data was initially inserted incorrectly, you should provide the correct and accurate options and amounts in this section. Do not forget to fill out both columns suggested.
Check with the Submission Process
Once you have made the corrections, ensure to double-check the information you have inserted. Please note that you have to refresh the information in the other tax-related forms, too. Thus, you will need to correct and file Form 1040X to amend your submitted tax returns if you have made any corrections in this section. Attach Copy B of your completed Form W-2c to confirm that the corrections are now accurate. You can do that after you file the original W-2c form.
Please note that the IRS accepts electronic filings now. If you, as the employer, need to file over 250 corrected forms, you can only submit them electronically. This measure is performed to make the submission procedure more convenient for both the filers and the IRS staff.
The first thing you need to take into account once you discover a mistake in your tax statement and realize you need to file Form W-2c is that the form template on the official IRS website is for information purposes only. You cannot legally use this template to download, print, and fill out. If the employer does not supply you with the relevant form template, you shall buy it either from the IRS or a licensed and authorized seller.
The second official requirement is that you have to use black ink exclusively when filling out the form if you are completing it by hand and 12-point Courier font if you are completing the form online. The font requirement is optional, but it would be better if you comply.
Contentwise, the W-2c form is not different from the standard W-2 in any way. However, there is one significant difference: in the revised W-2c version, there are two columns for information on the employee’s tax returns (federal, state, and local). The first one is meant for you to indicate the previously reported data, and the second is designed to insert the correct info. Thus, the authorities will notice where exactly the amendments were made.
The final remark we would like to make on this point is the SSN corrections. Be very careful with the SSN you are inserting, as this is probably the most important identifying indicator in the whole form. If this is the only mistake made in the original tax return, simply complete boxes D through I in the form. Do not fill out anything else.