Learn how to process and file W-2 forms using Online Payroll.

Are you ready to process your W-2s? In this article we'll walk you through the steps to do so either manually or electronically using QuickBooks.

Note For Intuit Online Payroll, in-product support for federal forms is available only with an Enhanced level subscription (or a Basic subscription that started before April 1, 2013).

Key deadline for W-2s

By January 31,  2019 you must have done the following:

  • Provide Forms W-2 to any active and inactive employee with wages for the prior year
  • File your Forms W-2 with the Social Security Administration (SSA) both for manual and electronic filers.
    • Manually filed forms. Due dates are the "post marked by" dates.
    • Electronically filed forms. Submission deadline is by 5:00pm PST on January 29, 2019.
  • Some states require that you file wage and tax statements with the state agency. While you can electronically file federal W-2 forms even if you're not enrolled in Intuit's Electronic Services, you must have QuickBooks Enhanced level service to e-file state forms. To determine your state requirement, please see: Which States Require Electronic W-2 Filing

File W-2 electronically

Intuit Online Payroll allows you to electronically file federal Forms W-2 with the agency at no additional charge. Even if you're not going to electronically file any other forms with us. (You must have QuickBooks Enhanced level service to electronically file state Forms W-2.)

On January 1 of each new year a link appears on your Intuit Online Payroll To Do list to file Forms W-2 for the prior tax year electronically.

Intuit Online Payroll

  1. In To Do tab, under It's time to file forms section, select W-2 Copies A & D.
  2. If prompted, verify your tax codes. We pre-fill the tax code field, so you don t need to look it up. You only need to do this once.
  3. Select Continue to proceed.
  4. If prompted, tell us whether or not one or more employees were active participants in a retirement plan during the tax year. With contributions to retirement plans outside of Intuit Online Payroll, you ll need to manually select the retirement plan checkbox for each active participant.
  5. On the Employer Copies: Form W-2 page, select View to open Acrobat Reader. Review and print Copy D (Employer's copy) for your records.
  6. When you're ready, select Submit to authorize us to file Copy A of Form W-2 electronically for you. (Note: Do not send a printout of Form W-2 to the Social Security Administration.)
  7. On the status page, note the current status: Submitted.

QuickBooks Online Payroll

  1. Go to your Dashboard.
  2. Under Tasks, select the Show more drop-down to view all forms due.
  3. Select File now next to W-2 Copies A & D.
  4. Select Annual Forms > W-2 Copies A & D.
  5. If prompted, verify your tax codes. We pre-fill the tax code field, so you don t need to look it up. You only need to do this once.
  6. Select Continue.

  7. If prompted, tell us whether or not one or more employees were active participants in a retirement plan during the tax year.
  8. On the Employer Copies: Form W-2 page, select View to open Acrobat Reader. Review and print Copy D (Employer's copy) for your records.
  9. When you're ready, select Submit to authorize us to file Copy A of Form W-2 electronically for you. (Note: Do not send a printout of Form W-2 to the Social Security Administration.)
  10. On the status page, note the current status: Submitted.

Once we finish processing your filing, we will send you an email letting you know it's complete. You can also check the status of your filing on the status page.

View and print W-3 forms

When you submit your W-2 forms electronically through your Online Payroll account, we include the W-3 information in the electronic file. You don't need to submit or generate a separate W-3.

Intuit Online Payroll

  1.  Select the Taxes & Forms tab.
  2.  In the Forms section, select Annual Forms.
  3.  Select W-3. Then select View.
  4.  Select the Printer icon to print.

QuickBooks Online Payroll

  1. From the left menu, select Taxes, then Payroll Tax.

  2.  In the Forms section, select Annual Forms.
  3. Select W-3. Then select View.
  4. Select the printer icon to print.

Print W-2 copies for employees

Even when you electronically file federal Forms W-2 with the SSA, you will need to print and distribute copies to your employees, as well as yourself. Here's a breakdown of which copies go to the agency, to the employee, and to you (the employer).

Copy A - Social Security Administration (SSA)
Copy B - Employee (filed with employee's federal tax return)
Copy C - Employee (copy for employee's records)
Copy D - Employer (copy for your records)
Copy 1 - State, City, or Local tax department
Copy 2 - Employee (filed with employee's state, city, or local tax return)

Filing status

After you process your Forms W-2 and send the information to us, you may notice that the filing status in your Online Payroll account displays "Submitted" or "In Progress." As long as you click Submit two business days before the January 31st deadline, the SSA will consider your submission on time.

  • Submitted.  We have received your W-2 for processing
  • In Progress.  We start sending W-2 information to the agency in mid-January. Once your W-2 has been sent, it will show in this status
  • Completed.  The SSA has accepted your W-2. We'll send you an email notification when this happens.