Tax Form W-3 Instructions

Elizabeth Rosen
by Elizabeth Rosen, Contributor

IRS Tax Form W-3 (Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements)

Tax Form W-3 is a transmittal which is forwarded to the Social Security Administration, showing total earnings, Medicare wages, Social Security wages, and withholding for all employees encompassing the entire year.

The Social Security Administration requires that Tax Form W-3 is sent to them no later than the end of February. Along with this, they also require copies of W-2 tax forms for all employees. To ensure accuracy, the totals from Tax Form W-3 should equal the total on all submitted W-2 forms.

Form W-3 has eight lettered boxes:

  • a. Control number
  • b. Kind of Payer
  • c. Total number of Forms W-2
  • d. Establishment number
  • e. Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • f. Employer’s name
  • g. Employer’s address and ZIP code
  • h. Other EIN used this year

Form W-3 has nineteen numbered boxes:

  1. Wages, tips, other compensation
  2. Federal income tax withheld
  3. Social security wages
  4. Social security tax withheld
  5. Medicare wages and tips
  6. Medicare tax withheld
  7. Social security tips
  8. Allocated tips
  9. Advance EIC payments
  10. Dependent care benefits
  11. Nonqualified plans
  12. Deferred compensation
  13. HIRE exempt wages and tips
  14. For third-party sick pay use only
  15. Income tax withheld by payer of third-party sick pay
  16. State and Employer’s state ID number
  17. State wages, tips, etc.
  18. State income tax
  19. Local wages, tips, etc.
  20. Local income tax

IRS Tax Form W-3 (Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements)

Completing Tax Form W-3 is not as difficult as it appears at first glance. The control number, which is found in Box A, is optional. Box B is where you check how you pay employment taxes. The majority of companies pay on Form 944 or Form 941. Box C is where you include the total number of W-2s that are being reported and included.

Pay special attention to Boxes E, F, and G, as they are used for administrative purposes. This is where you will include your employer ID number, business name, and address.

In Boxes 1 through 14, you enter the totals for all the W-2s for that particular category. For instance, Box 1 asks for the total wages, tips, and other compensation.

Boxes 15 through 18 are the totals for all state income tax and withholding from the W-2s.

To finalize the process, you must sign your Tax Form W-3. Companies should send Tax Form W-3 to the Social Security Administration at the following address: Data Operations Center, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18769-0001.

Do I have to attach W-2s to Tax Form W-3 or do I send them separately?

You are required to submit both tax forms at the same time. For this reason, you will need to do all of the prep work accordingly. In other words, you cannot send tax form W-3 in January and your W-2s the next month. The Social Security Administration wants all this information at the same time.

Before you send off these tax forms, make sure your numbers and information are accurate. The totals on Tax Form W-3 should equal the amounts on your W-2s. And of course, double-check to ensure the accuracy of your name, address, and employer ID number.