Accelerated Form W-2 filing deadline for employers

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, enacted late last year, changed the filing deadline for Forms W-2 for calendar years after 2015 (e.g. 2016 W-2’s filed in 2017) to January 31 of the year following the year to which such returns relate. Therefore, 2016 W-2’s must be filed by January 31, 2017.

Before the PATH Act change, Forms W-2 had to be filed by the last day of February (March 31 for electronically filed forms). These returns are no longer eligible for the extended filing date for electronically filed returns.

There are also changes in requesting an extension to file the Form W-2. Only one 30-day extension to file Form W-2 is available, and this extension isn’t automatic. If an extension is necessary, a Form 8809 (Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns) must be completed as soon as the employer knows that an extension is necessary (but by January 31, at the latest).

The January 31 deadline for employers to furnish copies of these forms to their employees remains unchanged.

 Accelerated Form 1099-MISC filing deadline

The due date for filing Form 1099-MISC for 2016, if reporting nonemployee compensation in box 7, has also been changed to January 31, 2017 whether filed on paper or electronically. A 30-day extension is also available by filing Form 8809 by the due date. The January 31 deadline to furnish copies of these forms to the recipients remains unchanged.