W-2 Deadline, Penalty, & Extension for 2023/2024

W-2 Deadline

The W-2 deadline for distributing copies to employees and for filing, either on paper or electronically to the SSA, is January 31, 2024. This deadline ensures that your employees have sufficient time to prepare and file their individual tax returns accurately.

As the tax season approaches, it’s important to stay compliant with the IRS regulations concerning W-2 forms. Staying on top of these obligations is not only essential for your employees but also for avoiding potential penalties.


What is Form W-2?

Form W-2 is an annual payroll report that shows the amount of taxes withheld from the employee’s paycheck for the year and is used to file federal and state taxes. Every employer who pays compensation, including noncash payments of $600 or more annually for services rendered by an employee, is required to file a Form W-2 for each employee.

Form W-2

Copies of Form-W2

Copy A: Federal Copy for filing with the IRS
Copy B: Recipient Copy (Sent to Employee)
Copy C: Payer Copy (Retained by the Employer)
Copy D/1/2: State and local filing (Depends on States Tax Rules)

W-2 Deadline for 2023

The following table will help you to remember all the W-2 deadlines for sending W-2 forms to the employees and for paper filing or e-filing them with the SSA:

W-2 Due Date


W-2 Penalties for Late Filing for Small Businesses

The penalties range from $60-$310 per missed W-2 tax form, depending on how late the forms were submitted.

Employers are responsible for ensuring that Form W-2 are furnished to employees and are filed with the SSA correctly and on time. If you fail to file a Form W-2 by the due date and cannot show reasonable cause, you may be subject to a penalty.

The penalty applies if you:

  • Fail to file timely,
  • Fail to include all information required to be shown on Form W-2,
  • Include incorrect information on Form W-2,
  • File on paper forms when you are required to e-file,
  • Report an incorrect TIN,
  • Fail to report a TIN, or
  • Fail to file paper Forms W-2 that are machine readable.

The amount of the penalty is based on when you file the correct Form W-2. The penalty amounts shown below apply to filings due after December 31, 2023.

If you do not file corrections and you do not meet any of the exceptions to the penalty, the penalty is $310 per information return. The maximum penalty is $1,261,000 for small businesses.

In the above case, the IRS considers you to be a small business if you’ve earned an average of $5 million or less in annual revenue for the past three tax years. For more information, refer IRS website.

W-2 Extension

You can ask for a 30-day extension from the IRS by filing Form 8809, Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns if you think you will miss the deadline. However, the extension is not automatic and it will be granted only in “extraordinary circumstances or catastrophe.” If you suffer from a natural disaster such as a hurricane, flood, tornado, or your books and records are destroyed by a fire, then you will get a favorable response to your extension request.

The reason for the extension should be explained clearly on Form 8809 and it must be signed under penalty of perjury.

It will be best if you file Form 8809 between January 1 and January 31 or as early as possible when you need an extension.

Note: You cannot request a second extension.

For more information, refer to IRS Guide for General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3.


We hope you will be feeling prepared, informed, and ready to send W-2s to your employees and SSA before the W-2 deadlines. Along with all the features needed for processing payroll efficiently for your small business, CheckMark Payroll allows you to Print or E-file W-2s & W-3s to the SSA and most states at no additional cost. You can also print completed Forms 941,940, 944, 943, W-2, and W-3 forms on blank or pre-printed forms.

Depending on your requirement, if you are filing 10 or more forms for the calendar year, then e-filing is a must. Else, you can paper file and mail to IRS for less than 10 forms. Refer to IRS Regulations for more information.

If you have any questions about the W-2 filing, you can reach us at any time. We’d be happy to help you out.