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February 07, 2002
SSA Has New W-2 Reporting Format
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After a three-year phase-in, the Magnetic Media Reporting and Electronic Filing (MMREF) is now mandatory for tax year 2001 submissions, including W-2s that must be sent to the Social Security Administration in calendar year 2002.

Social Security's new W-2 reporting format is available for employers who file by magnetic tape, cartridge, diskette, or electronically. Once you convert to the new system, it takes only seconds to file electronically over the Internet.

Registering to file 2001 W-2s electronically

Filing over the Internet is available for employers or third-party practitioners (like accountants, tax practitioners, and service bureaus) who use Social Security's MMREF requirements format.

If you use this format, you can register for a personal identification number (PIN) and password to enjoy these tax year 2001 electronic filing advantages:

* An additional month to submit wage reports (April 1, 2002.)

* More time to spot errors before submission (fewer W-2Cs.)

* Electronic confirmation of receipt (Form W-3 data.)

* The opportunity to test wage report accuracy before submission.

* Ability to track status of wage report processing.

* A fast, accurate and less expensive filing method.

* Paperless filing.

To register, go to Social Security's employer Web site, linked below. Select "Integrated Registration for Employers and Submitters" and follow the prompts. You'll be issued a PIN immediately and will be mailed a temporary password within 10-14 days. Change the password right away to one you personally select. Then, when you're ready to upload your report, go to the same web site and select "Online Wage Reporting Service." Using your PIN and password, select "Submit Files."

Social Security will accept tax year 2001 electronic submissions from January 7, 2002, to April 1, 2002.

Test software available

Social Security's free test software, AccuWage, is now available to download. The new 2001 version checks an MMREF formatted Form W-2 file for more than 200 different errors, allowing you to correct the file before submitting it to Social Security. This year's version of AccuWage downloads quickly and offers a new user-friendly HTML Error Report Option. It also includes the new fields that were added to the 2001 MMREF. A link appears below.

Two filing options eliminated

Form W-2 wage reports filed using value-added networks (VANs) and dial-up networking are no longer options. Beginning this calendar year, employers and third-party preparers should use Social Security's Internet filing option or 3 1/2-inch diskettes, 1/2-inch tapes, or 3480/3490 cartridges to file wage reports.


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