IRS Pushes Form W-2 Design Changes to 2024

November 28, 2022
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On November 3rd, the Internal Revenue Service discussed the potential drafts for the 2023 Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement during the payroll industry call. The nation’s tax collection agency revealed the form’s layout would undergo slight changes for the upcoming year.

In addition, the IRS warned that more severe changes will be made for 2024. On September 29th, the agency received notable feedback from stakeholders that suggested the modifications wouldn’t be suitable for the envelopes normally used for Forms W-2.  

This feedback prompted the IRS to revert to the current design for the time being. On October 31st, they published a revised draft for 2023.  

Form W-2: Get a Glimpse of Next Year’s Version

The IRS released a revised draft for the 2023 Form W-2. In this version, the Form W-2 contains the same number of pages, ten of them, with additional copies on separate pages.  

The agency stated that the revised version contains Copy D, and it’s likely to be exempt from the final draft of the 2023 Form W-2. With that said, the IRS is set to confirm these revisions at a later date as the agency is keen on maintaining an even number of pages.  

What the Future Looks Like for the Form W-2

Currently, the IRS will likely implement the first draft’s design for tax year 2024. Since there’s been a delay in decreasing the number of pages in Form W-2, employers have plenty of time to adapt to these changes before they take into effect.  

Form W-2’s first draft was four pages in length as opposed to ten. The IRS placed Copies B, C, and 2 on the same page to reduce the number of pages in the report. In order to fit all copies onto one page, some of the form’s boxes were moved to new places.  

Not only this, but the instructions were also fit onto one page. With that said, the instructions are aligned on the reverse side of the page for Copies B, C, and 2. In addition, the IRS removed Copy D, the employer instructions, and the employer’s copy from the report.  

Originally, these elements were featured on the reverse side of the copy. These adjustments aren’t exactly set in stone, but they are seriously being considered.  

Frequently Asked Questions: W-2 Forms    

Ahead of tax season, refresh your memory on the Wage and Tax Statement. For both new and seasoned administrators, we’ve comprised a list of the most asked questions regarding W-2 Forms.  

Q1: When Must W-2s be Sent to Employees?

Typically, employers should furnish the W-2 to their employees by January 31st of each year. If the employer is mailing the W-2 Forms, then they automatically meet the “furnish” requirement, that is, if the form is fitly addressed and mailed prior to or on January 31st.  

Q2: Does the Same Date Apply for Employees Who Left During the Year?

If their employment ends before the 31st of December, employers can furnish copies to them any time after the fact. However, employers may not furnish copies any later than January 31st.

If an employee requests their W-2, send them the completed copies within exactly 30 days of their request. The employer also has the option to send them their W-2 within 30 days of the final wage payment, depending on which occurs later.  

Q3: Do I Have to File a W-2 For an Employee Who Worked 60 Minutes Before Quitting?

It is required of employers to file and furnish a W-2 for every employee whose Social Security, Income, or Medicare tax was withheld.  

For employees who claimed no more than a single withholding allowance or did not claim exemption from withholding on the Form W-4, their income tax would not have been withheld.  

Q4: Is it Possible for Employers to Furnish W-2s to Employees Digitally?

The short answer is, yes, employers can furnish W-2s digitally to their employees, however, the right steps need to be taken. All employees must provide written consent to receive their W-2 electronically.  

You may only send a W-2 electronically to an employee who’s given consent for you to do so.

Q5: What Steps Do I Take if an Employee’s Copy is Undeliverable?

First and foremost, you should do your best to deliver the W-2 to the employee in question. To make a reasonable attempt, confirm that the address it was sent to is the same as the one on file. If the addresses are the same on both forms, contact the employee and check if their address has been altered.  

In the event that you’ve received an updated address, place the returned envelope into a new one and mail it to this address. Be sure to document that your first attempt to send an employee’s copy was deemed undeliverable.  

You can do so by taking a clear photo of the front of the returned envelope. Keep this photo in your possession for the next four years. Follow this process with any W-2 that you attempted to send to an employee, this also applies to employees who no longer work for your company.  

It’s important to note that as an employer, you should verify the mailing address with the employee who’s leaving. Furthermore, ask them to contact you if they receive a new address.  

Q6: How about Employees Who are Now Deceased?

Although it’s a difficult subject to think about, it’s important to prepare for such circumstances. If an employee passes away during the year, as their employer, you must report the vacation pay, accrued wages, and alternative forms of compensation paid after their date of death.  

You must report the employee’s wages that were available prior to their passing. It doesn’t matter whether or not the employee was in possession of these emoluments while they were alive.  

Get Ready for the Changes Ahead  

As the year draws to a close, prepare for the changes of Form W-2 ahead of time for the better of your employees and your company. That way, you’ll be well equipped to tackle the form’s design changes in 2024.