Hints for Preventing Resubmission Notices from Social Security
Social Security recommends checking W-2 annual wage report files for the following errors before submitting. Reducing these errors lessens the possibility of receiving a resubmission notice.
- Effective June 2014, Social Security implemented new edits for wage submission uploads that specifically check formatting issues such as invalid Record Identifiers and record lengths as well as surface edits such as invalid Tax Year, invalid Employer Identification Numbers (EIN) and invalid Employment Type (EET) Codes. These edits are performed immediately after the upload, and follow the guidelines as set by the Specifications for Filing Forms W-2 and W-2c publication. If error conditions are detected, improperly formatted submissions will not be processed and SSA will not assign a Wage File Identifier (WFID) for the unsuccessful attempt at submission. Social Security strongly suggests that submitters use AccuWage Online free service to check the format of their submission.
To Avoid Most Errors:
- Use SSA’s AccuWage Online free service to check the submission.
To Avoid Balancing Errors:
- Use SSA’s AccuWage Online free service to check the submission.
- Compare this year's RT and optional RU Record totals with the source payroll record data to identify possible errors (e.g. confirm RT/RU Record money field totals are correct);
- Do not use negative numbers and non-numeric characters in RW, RO, RT, and RU Record money fields;
- Check that all employee wage records begin with the letters RW and RO;
- Make sure that money field totals in RT and optional RU Records are discrete for every report. (Ex: The RT and RU money field totals for Report #2 should reflect only the money amounts in Report #2.) Do not accumulate RT/RU Record totals from one report to the next.)
To Avoid Medicare-Related Errors in RW Records:
- Make sure that the sum of Social Security Wages and Social Security Tips is greater than zero if Social Security Tax is greater than zero;
- Make sure that Medicare Wages and Tips is greater than zero if Medicare Tax is greater than zero;
- If the sum of Social Security Wages and Social Security Tips is greater than zero, make sure that Medicare Wages and Tips is greater than or equal to that sum.
To Avoid Employment Type (EET) Code Errors:
- Make sure the RE Record reported Employment Type Code (EET) Code is a valid value.
- If the RE Record reported Employment Type (EET) Code is Medicare Qualified Government Employment (Q), then the reported RE Record Tax Year must be 1983 – current tax year. Please note that only governmental employers should report code Q.
- If the RE Record reported Employment Type (EET) Code is Railroad (X), ensure that the RW Record(s) does not contain non-Railroad wages.
To Avoid Household Employment Type (EET) Code Errors:
- If the RE Record reported Employment Type (EET) Code is Household (H), then:
- Make sure the sum of:
- Social Security Wages and Social Security Tips is not less than the yearly minimum amount for Household coverage; and
- Make sure that Medicare Wages and Tips are not less than the yearly minimum amount for Household coverage.
To Avoid Errors Related to Tax Year:
- Make sure that the value provided in the Tax Year field of the RE Record is a number between 1978 and the most recently completed tax year, NOT the current calendar year.
- Make sure that reported money field values are valid for the Tax Year.
Exception: If you are submitting a report for an employer that is going out of business and are intentionally submitting it before the Tax Year has ended, do not include reports for any other Tax Years.
To Avoid Tax Jurisdiction Code Errors:
- Make sure the RE Record reported Tax Jurisdiction Code (position 220) is a valid value.
- Make sure that reported money field values are valid for the Tax Jurisdiction Code.
- If the RE Record reported Employment Type (EET) Code is Railroad (X), then the RE Record reported Tax Jurisdiction Code (position 220) must be “blank”.
To Avoid Empty Report Errors:
- Make sure at least one money field is reported for the RW or RO and RT or RU Records, respectively.
To Avoid Errors Related to Employer Identification Number (EIN):
- Enter the submitter EIN in the RA Record and the employer EIN in the RE Record.
- The employer EIN should normally match the EIN under which tax payments were submitted to the IRS under Form 941, 943, 944, CT-1 or Schedule H.
- Do not use non-numeric characters in the RE Record Employer/Agent EIN field.
- Do not use 00, 07, 08, 09, 17, 18, 19, 28, 29, 49, 69, 70, 78, 79 or 89 in positions 8 and 9 of the RE Record Employer/Agent EIN field.
- If wage reports and tax payments are to be filed under the Employer's EIN, enter the EIN of the Employer in the RE Record Employer/Agent EIN field (positions 8- 16).
- If the earnings are reported by a type of Agent that files wage reports and tax payments under the Agent's EIN (Ex: 2678 Agent), enter the Agent's EIN in the RE Record positions 8-16, and enter the Employer's EIN in the “Agent for EIN” field (RE Record positions 17-25).
- If the reported Employer/Agent EIN in the RE Record (positions 8-16) is registered with Social Security as Railroad only, make sure the wage report does not contain non-Railroad wages.
- If the reported Employment Type (EET) Code in the RE Record (position 219) is Military (M), make sure the Employer/Agent EIN is registered with Social Security to report Military wages.
To Avoid Errors Resulting from Incorrect Money Amounts:
- Check to see that RW, RO, RT and RU Record money amounts are all numeric characters and within the maximum (and minimum) amounts your company pays to any one employee;
- Verify that your payroll system has the correct Social Security Wages maximum (Social Security limit) entered and that all employee reports do not exceed that limit;
- Verify by spot checking at least three employees (one - a maximum wage earner, one - a minimum wage earner, and one in between) to see that your system is withholding the correct percentages of Social Security and Medicare Tax;
- Verify by checking at least three employees to see if your system is following the correct Federal Income Tax rate tables.
To Avoid Errors Resulting from Invalid Names and Social Security Numbers (SSNs):
- Check to see that the structure of the wage report ensures that the names and SSNs are in the proper positions;
- Check the names and SSNs to ensure that they agree with the individual’s SSN exactly as it is shown on the individual’s Social Security card;
- Check to see that the SSN is nine numeric characters and does not contain letters, blanks spaces, hyphens, prefixes or suffixes;
- Ensure that the SSN does not begin with the numbers 666 or 9.
To Avoid Errors Resulting from Invalid Electronic Resubmissions:
- Ensure that the Resubmission type is the same type as version 1 of your original electronic wage file submission.
- For example, if the original electronic file was submitted with a 512-byte length, then your electronic Resubmission file must be a 512- byte file format as well.
See Specifications for Filing Forms W-2 and W-2c for detailed file formats. The Employer Services Liaison Officer for your region may be able to help you develop additional strategies for preventing resubmission notices. Liaison Office contact information is available on the Ask a Wage Reporting Expert webpage. Social Security encourages employers and third-party submitters to use the AccuWage software to verify the format of W-2 and W-2c wage-data files before submitting them. To pre-test using AccuWage Online, visit our AccuWage Online Information webpage.