Employers must file copies of their Form W-2s by January 31 under a new federal law that went into effect this tax year. The new January 31 filing deadline also applies to certain Form 1099s. Prior to this new law, employers had until the end of February for paper filings or the end of March for electronic filings to submit these forms.
There are also changes to the requests for an extension for Form W-2 filings under the new law. Now only one 30-day extension is allowed and it is not automatic. You must file Form 8809 Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns to request an extension as soon as you realize it is necessary and it must be filed no later than January 31. The January 31 deadline for employers to furnish copies of Form W-2s or Form 1099s to their employees or workers remains unchanged.
The filing deadline changes were enacted under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act. The new deadlines are intended to help the IRS find errors on taxpayer returns and release tax refunds sooner, except for refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) which will be processed later under the new law.