SSA to Mail Mismatch Letters to Employers in 2019

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By Keith Hill and Jazlyn Williams

The Social Security Administration plans to resume mailing letters in 2019 to employers that have filed at least one Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, containing a mismatch between a name and Social Security number, an agency official said Aug. 2.

Starting in March 2019, the SSA is to notify employers that corrections are needed for W-2s with a mismatched name and Social Security number, said Scott Pedersen, a program manager at the agency.

The correction requests are to include the number of mismatches as well as directions to Business Services Online, where employers may review name and Social Security number information submitted on the W-2, Pedersen said during the Internal Revenue Service’s monthly payroll industry teleconference. Employers would be required to submit corrections on Form W-2c, Corrected Wage and Tax Statement, within 60 days after receiving the letter.

The notice is to tell employers that receipt of the letter “does not imply that you or your employee intentionally gave the government wrong information” about the employee’s name or Social Security number. The SSA notes on its website that there are several reasons why reported names and numbers may disagree with SSA records, such as typos, unreported name changes, and inaccurate or incomplete employer records.

The SSA has started mailing informational notifications to employers that submitted W-2s for 2017 that contained mismatched name and Social Security numbers, based on agency records, Pedersen said. The notification tells the employers that they are to receive an educational correspondence letter in 2019 with a request to review and correct business records.

Third-party payroll providers also are to receive letters telling them that they have clients that may receive an educational correspondence letter, Pedersen said.

An SSA announcement encourages employers to ensure the accuracy of wage reporting for its employees by registering for the Business Services Online portal. The portal provides instructions on finding and resolving errors, and lists seven frequently asked questions on how employers can verify Social Security numbers and what they should do if there is a mismatch with federal records.

To contact the reporters on this story: Keith Hill in Washington at khill@bloombergtax.com and Jazlyn Williams in Washington at jwilliams@bloombergtax.com. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Baer at mbaer@bloombergtax.com.

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