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W-2 News
For Employers and Businesses Who Submit W-2 Forms
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Welcome to W-2 News, the electronic newsletter for employers who submit W-2s to Social Security.

Issue 2009-05
December 17, 2009

Changes to Business Services Online

You'll see some changes to Business Services Online (BSO), including:

  • Log In to Online Services screen now includes a check box for the User Certification statement
  • Create a Login Account is separated into steps
  • There is a new Reporting Wages to Social Security page that includes: Uploading W-2s (including submitting special wage payments), Creating W-2s, Creating W-2Cs, viewing information about your file or report and responding to resubmission notices
  • Improved W2 Online screens
  • Ability to create W-2Cs for prior years, and
  • State totals are now shown on the W-3 when using W2 Online. You have the option to change the totals based on state requirements and you are required to check a box that you agree with the totals presented.

Your Social Security questions answered -- quickly

Are you an employer who has a question about Social Security or wage reporting? The chances are that you can find the answer to any Social Security-related question at our website - We have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) link, located in the left column of the webpage. There are 119 FAQs covering a wide array of employer-Social Security topics. And if you can't find the answer to your particular question, you will be given the opportunity to ask your own question online.

Your password expires every 90 days

Your password should be changed every 90 days. If you go beyond 90 days, all you need to do is type your expired password and create a new password. User Reminders.

Forgot your password -- just answer these questions

When you registered to use Business Services Online, Social Security asked you to provide five questions of your choice for authentication purposes. If you forget your password, we will choose three of the five questions for you to answer and you'll be able to self-select a new password and gain access to services immediately. You will no longer have to wait for Social Security to send you a new password by mail. User Registration Reminders.

What's that date on the Social Security card?

Beginning with cards issued October 2007 or later, Social Security cards include the issue date on the front of the card. Tax preparers tell us that some people are crossing out the issue date and replacing it with their birth date. In this situation, it is not necessary to ask for a new Social Security card. The card is still a valid card. If the name and Social Security number appear unchanged you can use it for tax and wage reporting.

Do you really need to see the card?

If an employee doesn't have a Social Security card, an employer often asks them to go to the Social Security office to obtain a replacement card. This is costly to you, your employee and Social Security. Save time, money and a trip to our office. Consider using the free Social Security Number Verification Service to verify your employee's name and Social Security number online. You can do that right from your PC. For more information, visit

Are you having a problem registering for Business Services Online?

Sometimes Social Security is unable to verify information about you or your employer. As part of the registration process Social Security will provide you with a screen explaining any additional information you will need to provide to complete registration. You will need to fax this information to Social Security at 570-706-7874.

Activation codes

When you request access to the Social Security Number Verification Service or one of the two higher levels of wage reporting error notification, Social Security will mail an activation code to you or your employer as part of the authentication process. It may take up to 2 weeks to receive the code. It normally takes longer between January and March--so don't delay, consider registering today.

Have you requested a second activation code?

If you request a second activation code before you receive the first, it will automatically cancel the first activation code you requested. If you are not sure whether you have received the first or the second activation code, we recommend that you try the code no more than two times. If it fails twice do not try a third time since it is the first activation code which is no longer valid. A third failure will cancel your second activation code request and you would then have to apply a third time. Please wait until you receive the second activation code letter and use that code.

Free Software Helps Wage Reports Accuracy

AccuWage/AccuW2C is free software from Social Security. It allows you to check W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) and W-2c (W-2 correction) reports for correctness before you send them to Social Security. Using AccuWage and AccuW2C greatly reduces file rejections. Download the latest version of the AccuWage software before you prepare your wage reports each year. For more information go to

Relocation of the Social Security Number on Form W-2

Social Security and the Internal Revenue Service moved the "Employee's Social Security number" (SSN) box on the Form W-2 from box d to box a , and the "Control number" box, optionally used by some employers to identify individual Forms W-2, from box a to box d . We also relocated the form ID Number "22222" and "Void" boxes to the top left corner of the Form W-2. We made these changes to protect the employee's SSN from public disclosure when employers furnish Forms W-2 to their employees using a window envelope to enhance processing efficiency.

Social Security has received numerous paper W-2s where the SSN and/or name is not in the proper position and it can delay processing. Please look closely at your paper W-2s, especially Copy A, to ensure printing accuracy prior to mailing them to Social Security's Wilkes-Barre Data Operations Center.

Temporary Outage of Business Services Online - President's Weekend

SSA is performing major systems maintenance during the President's Day holiday weekend. Business Services Online will not be available from 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, February 13, 2010 to 5:00 a.m. on Monday, February 15, 2010. Please be aware of this shutdown weekend when our services will not be available.

Help Plan for Retirement

Remember to tell your coworkers, family and friends about the free resources available to them on the Social Security website at Social Security's online Retirement Estimator at is a great financial planning tool that gives an immediate and personalized estimate of your Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, age 66, age 70 or any point in between.

When it's time to retire, Social Security's online Retirement Benefit Application makes it easy to apply for benefits. Apply for retirement benefits from your PC in as little as 15 minutes at There's no need to drive to your local Social Security office or wait for an appointment. In most cases, after you click the "Sign Now" button and submit the application electronically, that's it. There are no forms to sign, and usually no additional documents are required. Social Security will contact you directly if more information is needed.

If you are uncertain about when to retire, you can check out the online fact sheet, "When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits" at


Have Any Questions about Business Services Online or Wage Reporting?

We have a special website designed to answer your questions on wage reporting. Visit the Employer page (Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information) at It has links to Learn How to E-File Using Business Services Online, Learn How to Use SSNVS to verify Social Security Numbers, and we have the Frequently Asked Questions page. There are also sections for In the News, Resources, Before You File, and the Employer Information Directory. Bookmark the Employer page for all of your W-2 Reporting needs.



Not yet registered for Business Services Online?

If you haven't yet registered for Business Services Online, then do it now and beat the end of year rush. You can register at If you have questions view the Online Tutorial and Software Demo at



Customer Service

Employer Reporting Assistance
For more information on reporting employee wages to Social Security visit our website

Employers may contact Social Security with wage reporting questions or problems.
Phone - 1-800-772-6270, Monday - Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time

BSO Technical Assistance
Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Eastern Time 1-888-772-2970

General Information (Social Security Information)
Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (all time zones)
For TDD/TTY call 1-800-325-0778

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