Electronic Filing Questions

This section provides answers to questions related to electronic filing.

I am unsure whether we have to file our W-2 or 1099-MISC/NEC information electronically. How do I find out?

Businesses with 250 or more employees are required to use electronic filing to submit W-2 information to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The deadline for filing electronically is January 31, 2021. This filing method requires pre-authorization. If you registered for a User ID and password last year, you may continue to use the same ID if you change your password. Contact the SSA to register for a User ID and password or to change your existing password. Access the SSA website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/. Click on Business Services Online.

Note: View the Electronic W-2 filing System Requirements on the SSA website here. Contact Social Security directly for assistance. For help with annual wage reporting or registration for annual wage reporting, call Employer Reporting Assistance at: 1-800-772-6270 (Monday – Friday 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time). Or call Business Services Online Technical Assistance at: 1-888-772-2970 (Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time). Electronic filing is required when issuing 250 or more 1099-MISC/NEC forms. Pre-authorization is required from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to use electronic filing methods. Once you receive approval, you do not need to apply again. Check with your CPA, the IRS, or the SSA if you have further questions regarding electronic filing.

I don't file more than 250 W-2s. Can I still file electronically?

Yes. Either use Spectrum and follow the steps above, or check out the "W-2 Online: An Electronic Filing Option for Small Businesses" found onhttp://www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/. Select Business Services Online and register. This is an option provided by the SSA for small business that allows you to prepare and submit up to 20 W-2s (per report) over a secure Internet service. At this site, you can print W-2s for your employees and your records, receive electronic receipts you can use as proof you filed on time, and you have until January 31, 2021 to file.

Where can I get details about the EFW2 file format?

From the Social Security Administration (SSA) Web site http://www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/, click the Forms & Publications option. Next, click the EFW2 option. This will display printable pages of the file format.

What steps can I take to help ensure my electronic W-2 file complies with the EFW2 format for tax year 2021?

In your Internet browser, access the Social Security Administration's Web site at http://www.ssa.gov/employer/accuwage/.

Note: Both Address fields must be completed, even if the same address is used twice, or you will receive an error message when you run your AccuWage test.

This software identifies many, but not all, wage submission errors. The likelihood of having your submission rejected, though not eliminated, is greatly reduced when you use this software. If you need assistance with AccuWage, please use the contact information on the SSA's website. Please do not contact Viewpoint Support because we do not provide or support this functionality.

Can I use Spectrum to prepare an electronic W-2 filing for my state or local tax jurisdiction?

Some states and local tax jurisdictions will accept the EFW2 format; however, arrangements and approval for reporting to state or local taxing agencies must be made with each individual state or local tax agency. The SSA and IRS do not transfer or process the state record data. Please check with your state or local taxing office to determine if they will accept the EFW2 format.

Spectrum can print state W-2s and produce the W-2 electronic file if your state follows standard Federal guidelines. If the state you are filing with varies from standard Federal guidelines, there are other options, including using Nelco, with whom Viewpoint has partnered to support state filing. Please see the Payroll Processing chapter, section titled Supplemental Instructions for State filing with the EFW2, in this help file for more detail on your options and the steps to follow.

Do I need to modify the format of my employees' names for electronic filing?

The EFW2 record format requires that employees' names be separated into first, middle, and last names. Spectrum automatically does this separation when the employee is entered. If the employee has had a name change during the year, verify the correct name will print by going to Payroll > Employees. Use the drop-down at the employee name to verify first, middle and last.

I can't find my W-2 electronic file. Where has it been created?

Different web browsers download files from Spectrum in different ways (refer to the appendix's browser configuration documents. They have more information on download settings.). It is important to note that browsers are constantly updated and you may need to refer to your browser's Help Files for the latest information.

The AccuWage guide indicates my employee's name isn't correctly identified. What's wrong?

The EFW2 record format, used for electronic filing, requires that employee names be entered as shown on the employee's social security card (first name, middle name, or middle initial, last name, suffix). Do not include any titles or academic degrees, such as Dr., R.N., or Ph.D. at the beginning or end of the employee's name. Because the Build W-2 Forms has already been performed, use the W-2 Form Maintenance screen to make corrections as needed.

You can make any changes needed for next year now. Depending on what needs to be corrected and how many corrections need to be made, there are two options to do this in Payroll > Employees. Please review each of the following options to decide which option fits your needs.

To change existing employee names, complete the following steps.
  1. Click Payroll > Employees. Enter or select an employee.
  2. Click the drill-down icon next to the employee's name. The Employee Name Detail window displays.
  3. Make any required changes in the First, Middle, Last, or Suffix fields.
  4. Click OK to save your changes.

Additional help with AccuWage files can be found through the SSA website.