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Global Work Glossary

Lost in a maze of global employment jargon? Find your way out with our handy collection of work and HR terminology

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Form W-3

What is Form W-3?

Form W-3, officially known as the Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, is a tax form used in the United States to summarize the information of all Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statements, that an employer has issued to their employees. It is submitted by employers to the Social Security Administration (SSA) alongside the Forms W-2 to report wages, tips, and other compensation paid to employees.

Purpose and Filing Requirements

The main purpose of Form W-3 is to transmit copies of Form W-2 to the SSA. This ensures that employees’ annual earnings and the taxes withheld from their salaries are correctly reported at the federal level. Employers must file Form W-3 if they file one or more Form W-2 documents. This form is due by January 31st each year, coinciding with the deadline for the Form W-2.

Details and Information Reported

Form W-3 consolidates the tax information reported individually in each Form W-2 by the employer. This includes total wages paid, Social Security wages, Medicare wages, federal and state income taxes withheld, Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld, and other pertinent compensation and tax details.

Importance for Employers and the IRS

Form W-3 plays a crucial role in the tax reporting process by helping the IRS and SSA to track and verify the accuracy of income and tax reporting by employers. It assists in the management of Social Security and Medicare funds and ensures that employees’ earnings records are accurate for future benefits. For employers, meticulous completion and timely submission of Form W-3 are essential to maintain compliance with federal tax obligations and to avoid possible penalties.

Form W-3 is integral to ensuring the integrity of wage reporting and tax collection processes in the United States. By summarizing annual employee compensation and withholding information, it supports the effective administration of tax and social security systems.

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