Passed in Dec. 2015, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act changed the previous two-date W-2 and 1099-Misc. deadlines to a single Jan. 31 deadline, beginning in 2017 for your 2016 forms.

Prior to the PATH Act’s passage, the deadline for businesses to provide recipients with the forms was Jan. 31, while the deadline to file the forms with the government was Feb. 28 (Mar. 31, for electronic filers.)

The new law requires you to provide forms W-2 to your employees and 1099-Misc to your vendors and independent contractors by January 31st.

You are also required to file Forms W-2 with the W-3 transmittal with the Social Security Administration, and 1099-Misc with form 1096 transmittal, with the IRS, by the same Jan. 31st deadline, whether you file electronic or paper forms.

In a nutshell: no more waiting until Feb. 28th (or Mar. 31) to file the forms with the IRS or SSA. Businesses that fail to comply with the new requirements risk significant IRS penalties.

Tips for Employers

  • Make sure you have verified your employees’ social security numbers.
  • Confirm your employees’ current mailing addresses in early December each year.
  • Review your records for reporting non-employee compensation on form 1099-Misc and make sure you have a signed form W-9 on file for each eligible independent contractor.