IRS issues 2019 draft of Form W-2

The IRS has released a draft of the 2019 Form W-2. The form has Box 9 which was included in the 2018 form. The instructions state: Box 9. If you are e-filing and if there is a code in this box, enter it when prompted by your software. The only valid characters are the letters A-F and the digits 0-9. This code assists the IRS in validating the W-2 data submitted with your return. The code is not entered on paper-filed returns.

Background

In 2018, the IRS expanded a pilot program to verify the authenticity of Form W-2 data. The program is one in a series of steps implemented by the Security Summit to combat tax-related identity theft and refund fraud. The objective is to verify Form W-2 data submitted by taxpayers on e-filed individual tax returns. The IRS has partnered with certain payroll service providers (PSPs) to include a 16-character verification code on many Forms W-2 provided to employees.
In 2018:

  • Verification codes appeared on more than 60 million tax year 2017 Forms W-2.
  • A Form W-2 with a verification code displayed it in Box 9, Verification Code.
  • A Form W-2 without a verification code could include a blank Box 9 or no Box 9 at all.

Taxpayers and tax professionals are urged to enter the verification code when prompted by software, as it can speed the processing of the return and the issuance of the refund. However, omitted and incorrect verification codes will not delay the processing of a tax return. The code is not entered on paper-filed returns. The verification code will not be included in Forms W-2 or W-2 data submitted by the PSPs to the Social Security Administration or any state or local departments of revenue. The pilot does not affect state and local income tax returns or paper federal returns. (IRS 2019 Form W-2 Draft, August 8, 2018.)

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