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Jean   Murray

If You Can't Get W-2 Reports to Employees by January 31

By January 25, 2012

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Tuesday, January 31 is the last day to provide W-2 Wage and Tax Reports for 2011 to employees.

What If I Can't Get the Forms to Employees and Contractors by January 31?

First, let employees know that you will not be able to get their W2 forms to them on time. They won't be happy not to receive the forms, so you had better have a great reason for not getting the forms to them by this date. They need them to complete their tax returns.

Second, request an extension of time to furnish these forms to employees and contractors.  If you submit the request before the due date, you may get up to 30 days to give these forms to employees. Submit a letter before January 31 to the Internal Revenue Service at:

Information Returns Branch, Mail Stop 4360
Attn: Extension of Time Coordinator
240 Murall Drive
Kearneysville WV 25430

Include your name and address, your employer ID number, a statement requesting an extension, the reason for the delay, and your signature or the signature of your company's authorized agent.

The IRS doesn't have to grant you an extension, so again you need a great reason for not getting these forms to employees.

In any case, GET THESE FORMS TO EMPLOYEES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, even if you have applied for an extension.

If you have more than 10 payers (employees receiving forms), you must submit this request electronically. The requirements for electronic submission are complex; check with your tax preparer to see if he or she can submit the request for you.

More on Form W-2 for 2011 including changes to the form and a step-by-step explanation of how to complete Form W-2.

Image: Getty Images

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