New IRS Rules Eliminate Automatic Form W-2 Filing Extension

Author: Rena Pirsos, XpertHR Legal Editor

August 19, 2015

The IRS has issued a set of final, temporary and proposed regulations that remove the automatic extension of time to file information returns on the W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, series of forms (except Form W-2G, Certain Gambling Winnings). The temporary regulation allows only a single 30-day nonautomatic extension of time to file Forms W-2. The IRS says it is implementing these changes to accelerate the filing of W-2 series forms so they are available earlier in the filing season for use in the IRS's identity theft and refund fraud detection processes. Comments are requested on the proposed rules.

Effective for 2016 information returns filed in 2017, Federal Regulation § 1.6081-8, which currently provides an automatic 30-day extension of time to file Forms W-2 and allows an additional 30-day nonautomatic extension in certain cases, will be eliminated. New § 1.6081-T (the new temporary regulation) will replace the current regulation. The new temporary regulation is substantially identical to the current regulation, except that it:

  • Adds the 1097 series forms, and Forms 1094-C, 3921 and 3922 to the list of information returns that are subject to rules regarding extensions;
  • Removes the W-2 series forms (except Form W-2G) from the list of information returns eligible for the automatic 30-day filing extension and, instead, provides a single 30-day nonautomatic filing extension for those returns; and
  • Clarifies that the procedures for requesting a filing extension for forms in the 1095 series apply to Forms 1095-B and 1095-C, but not Form 1095-A.

The IRS says that it expects to grant the nonautomatic filing extension only when a filer or transmitter has been affected by extraordinary circumstances or a catastrophe. These include a natural disaster or fire destroying the books and records needed to file the information returns. If the IRS rejects a filing extension request, any returns filed after their due dates will be considered to have been filed late, regardless of whether or when the application for the extension was filed.

The temporary regulation pertains to those who are required to file the affected information returns and need an extension of time to file. The substance of the temporary regulation is included in the proposed regulation; these regulations are effective on July 1, 2016.

Regarding the proposed regulation, the IRS plans to eventually eliminate the automatic 30-day filing extension for the other forms listed in the temporary regulation and replace it with a single nonautomatic 30-day filing extension. Accordingly, the proposed regulation would remove the automatic 30-day filing extension applicable to the other listed forms. The proposed regulation would affect information returns that are due January 1 of the calendar year beginning after the date the final regulations are published in the Federal Register, but earlier than the 2018 filing season (e.g., for 2017 returns that are filed in 2018).

The IRS will accept comments and requests for a public hearing regarding the proposed regulation until November 12, 2015. Comments and requests may be submitted to with "IRS REG-132075-14" included in the subject line.