The IRS has had its fair share of fraud and identity theft issues over recent years. Fraudulent claims cost millions, if not billions of dollars annually, and the numbers are increasing at an alarming rate.

In attempt to minimize fraudulent claims, the filing deadline for 2017 W-2 and 1099 forms is January 31, 2018 for the second year in a row. It’s imperative that you have informed, communicated, or at least touched base with your clients so they are aware of the deadlines, and to ensure they are in compliance as penalties have increased. The January 2018 Federal deadline includes forms that are filed via paper or electronically.

Dissemination of the W-2 forms can be via encrypted electronic file (with the employee’s authorization) or traditional paper forms. We highly recommend tracking numbers be utilized for any paper forms that are distributed via mail, courier or UPS/FedEx.

The suggested best practice for employers is to have these forms distributed to their employees before the deadline to better address accuracy and legitimacy. This will allow employees plenty of time to gather their tax filing information prior to the deadline.

For state W-2 form filing, the standards don’t necessarily follow the Federal rules. Due to the amount of changes and increased penalties for noncompliance, it’s wise to understand your state’s requirements.