IRS Receives 21 Million W-2s In Program to Fight Tax Fraud

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By Howard Perlman

Fifteen payroll service providers have sent the Internal Revenue Service copies of Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, under an anti-fraud initiative that for 2015 forms so far has involved 21 million W-2s, an agency representative said Feb. 4.

The initiative is to enhance the ability of the IRS to quickly detect attempts to commit tax fraud based on identity theft by using improperly obtained Forms W-2 with fraudulent individual tax returns, Scott Mezistrano, IRS representative for industry stakeholder engagement and outreach said during a monthly payroll industry teleconference.

About 750,000 employers, or more than 10 percent of those in the U.S., have had their 2015 W-2s provided to the IRS by the 15 service providers participating in the initiative, Mezistrano said. Ceridian LLC and Paychex Inc. were among those taking part in the effort.

Service providers in the program still are required to file the forms with the Social Security Administration, but may file them with the IRS first as long as the SSA receives the forms by the standard filing deadline, which is Feb. 29 for paper forms and March 31 for those filed electronically.

Starting with 2016 Forms W-2 due in 2017, the deadline for filing Forms W-2 with the SSA is Jan. 31, regardless of the format of submission. The earlier filing date is to combat tax fraud.

The IRS is to not require Forms W-2 to be filed with itself and the SSA, Mezistrano said. There are no plans to establish the IRS as the primary recipient of Forms W-2; the SSA is to remain the primary recipient, he said.

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