IRS Sets Jan. 31 Deadline for Employers’ Wage Statements and Independent Contractor Forms





The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued an important reminder to all employers about the impending January 31 deadline for submitting important tax documentation. This deadline is critical for the efficient processing of wage statements and forms related to independent contractors.

Employers are required to file their copies of Form W-2, which is the Wage and Tax Statement, and Form W-3, the Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, with the Social Security Administration by January 31. This deadline is not just for traditional employee forms but also extends to Forms 1099-MISC, for Miscellaneous Income, and Forms 1099-NEC, for Nonemployee Compensation, which are filed with the IRS.

The IRS highlights the importance of this deadline as it aids in verifying income and fighting fraud. It is a pivotal part of the tax process, especially for small business owners who often work with independent contractors and freelancers.



To facilitate this process, the IRS offers the Information Returns Intake System (IRIS), a free electronic filing service for the Form 1099 series. This user-friendly online portal not only allows for the electronic filing of forms but also assists in preparing payee copies for distribution, filing corrections, and requesting automatic extensions.

Starting in 2024, there are new electronic filing requirements for businesses filing Forms W-2. Any business filing 10 or more forms is mandated to file these and certain information returns electronically. The IRS stresses that e-filing is the most efficient, accurate, and convenient method of submitting these forms.

Employers should note that extensions for filing these forms are not automatically granted. They must request a 30-day extension to file Forms W-2 by submitting Form 8809 by January 31. However, this does not extend the due date for furnishing wage statements to employees, which requires a separate extension process.

Furthermore, the IRS has delayed the implementation of the Form 1099-K $600 reporting threshold. For tax year 2023 and earlier, payment apps and online marketplaces are required to issue Forms 1099-K only for taxpayers who receive over $20,000 and have more than 200 transactions. The threshold will be reduced to $5,000 for tax year 2024.


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Penalties for not complying with these regulations can be steep. Employers can find more information on the IRS’ Information Return Penalties page and are encouraged to visit the IRS website for detailed instructions and specifications for electronic filing.

This reminder is crucial for small business owners to ensure compliance with IRS regulations, avoid potential penalties, and support the overall process of income verification and tax fraud prevention. The January 31 deadline is key to maintaining the integrity and efficiency of the tax system, particularly for businesses that frequently engage with independent contractors.

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