What is a W-3 Form and How to File One in 2021

The IRS W3 form – what role does it play in business tax reporting?

The Form W-3, along with W-2, is sent to the Social Security Administration (SSA) on an annual basis. The purpose is to show the total earnings for all W-2 Forms. You, as the employer, are responsible for filing the W-3 Form.

pdfFiller helps you fill out every form and sign them online. After that, you can share, print, or email your completed documents. In this post, you’ll find information about when you need to file the W-3 Form and how to fill it out without any mistakes.

Table of contents

  1. What is a W-3 tax form?
  2. IRS form W-3 2021 revision: what has changed?
  3. What are the differences between the W-3 and W-2 Forms?
  4. When is the form W-3 due?
  5. Form W-3: How to fill it out
  6. How to submit Form W-3?

What is a W-3 tax form?

Let’s start with the basics — what is a W-3? IRS and the Social Security Administration (SSA) use Form W-3 to complete and submit an employee’s W-2 Forms.

Tax Form W-3 tends to show total earnings, Medicare wages, Social Security wages, and withholdings for all employees encompassing the entire year.

Form W-3 includes: 

  • Employee’s total income and salary paid by an employer
  • The part of a payroll that’s subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes 
  • The total tax (both income and FICA) withheld from a payment

Employers required to file Form W-2 must also file an IRS Form W-3: Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements Form. Employees must file W-3 with the Social Security Administration with Copy A of Form W-2.

IRS form W-3 2021 revision: what has changed?

Due to COVID-19 and tax relief for 2020, there may be discrepancies between Forms W-2/W-3 and Forms 941, 941-SS, 943, 944, CT-1, and Schedule H (Form 1040). If you used any COVID-19 tax relief for 2020, it’s better to review Pub. 15,  the instructions for your respective employment tax form.

What are the differences between the W-3 and W-2 Forms?

There are a bunch of various “W” IRS forms. To avoid misunderstandings, we’ve compared the IRS Form W-3 and IRS Form W-2. At first glance, it may seem that they report similar information, but there are several differences.

How is Form W-3 different from Form W-2?

The key difference between these two forms is that W-2 shows information like wages and taxes withheld for each employee. On the contrary, Form W-3 reports the wages, taxable wages, and taxes withheld for an employer.

Form W-3 collects information about several employees from their W-2 Forms. As a result, each employee must fill out a W-2 Form, while the employer files a W-3 Form once for multiple employees.

When is form W-3 due?

You must file forms W-3 and W-2 with the Social Security Administration by January 31 of the calendar year following the tax year. Of course, it’s possible to mail or electronically file these forms.  For example, you can file and submit these forms via pdffiller.com.

Note: It’s required to send copies of W-2 Forms to your employees by the same deadline.

Form W-3: How to fill out

To file Form W-3 without any mistakes, you should keep in mind details about your business along with total wages, total taxable wages for Social Security and Medicare, total income tax withheld, etc.

When filling out the W-3 Form, you need to complete the following boxes:

  • Box A: A control number box is optional. It’s commonly used for organizing internal records. 
  • Box B indicates the type of payer and type of employee. If you aren’t sure, check with your accounting department or legal team for what type of payer you are. In most cases, employers pick “941”, referencing IRS Form 941. Small businesses can choose “944” (if they file Form 944). As for the type of employer, select “none apply,” unless your organization is nonprofit. 
  • Box C: Put the number of W-2 Forms you’re filling out.
  • Box D: Since the number of W-2 Forms included in one W-3 can’t exceed 50, you can use box D to show the establishment number.
  • Boxes E-H: Identification information such as employer identification number (EIN), employer’s name, and employer’s address and ZIP code.
  • Boxes 1-19: All the income and tax information from Forms W-2, you add to Form W-3.

How to submit Form W-3?

Submit your completed W-3 to the Social Security Administration at the following address:

Social Security Administration

Data Operations Center

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18769-0001

You can also fill and submit the form electronically using pdfFiller. It allows you to fill out any tax form on any desktop or mobile device. Once you’ve finished filing the form, share it in a few clicks. It’s possible to send a PDF by email, text message, fax, USPS mail, or notarize it online — right from your account.

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