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A new federal law, aimed at making it easier for the IRS to detect and prevent refund fraud, accelerates the W-2 filing deadline for employers to January 31. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, enacted last December, includes the new requirement for employers. The January 31 filing deadline also applies to certain Forms 1099-MISC reporting non-employee compensation such as payments to independent contractors.
In the past, employers typically had until the end of February, if filing on paper, or the end of March, if filing electronically, to submit copies of these forms. In addition, there are changes in requesting an extension to file. Only one 30-day extension to file Form W-2 is available and the extension is not automatic. A Form 8809 Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns must be completed as soon as possible and by January 31.