What is Form W-3? Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements Explained

June 24, 2024

Like Form W-2, Form W-3 is an important tax document for employers to know. Explore how to complete one and how the two forms work together.

  • Reviewed by Paylocity's Compliance & Government Relations Team

What is Form W-3?

Form W-3 (a.k.a. the Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements) is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax form used by employers to summarize to the Social Security Administration (SSA) a tax year's combined total wages, taxable wages, and withholding amounts for all employees.

The form is a supplement for Form W-2 and must be used by any organization that submits more than a single W-2 form for a tax year. Included in the information it reports is: 

Key Takeaways

  • Form W-3 is a tax form that accompanies and summarizes all the W-2 form data an employer is filing for a given tax year.
  • W-3 forms need to be submitted with their corresponding W-2 forms by January 31, but employers aren’t required to share a copy of Form W-3 with employees.
  • Employers can file Form W-3 online after entering data manually or uploading data files from a payroll provider. Mail-in options are also available, but employers must first order the blank form from the IRS.

What’s the Difference Between a W-2 and a W-3?

Aside from their similar names, forms W-3 and W-2 share much of the same information, so it’s unsurprising that employers and employees get them confused. 

Simply put, IRS Form W-3 is a cumulative summary of all the individual W-2 forms being submitted. It both confirms the information being reported in the W-2s and verifies all wages and FICA taxes were submitted for the tax year.

Form W-3 Responsibilities for Employers

Any employer who paid an employee $600 or more in wages during the tax year and withheld any of those wages for income or FICA taxes must file a W-2 form — which means they’ll also need to file a W-3 form. 

Fortunately, employers don’t have to provide employees with a copy of a W-3 the way they do for a W-2. However, they must still ensure that Form W-3 is filed with the SSA by January 31, unless that date falls on a weekend. In such cases, the due date is the next available business day. 

How to Complete a W-3 Form

How to Fill Out W-3 Form

Per IRS instructions, the information in each Form W-3 box must align with the sum totals reported across all corresponding W-2 forms.




An optional field for employers filing multiple W-3 forms. Employers can assign a Control Number to each W-3 form for internal organization and record keeping. 






Kind of Payer: Indicates the type of taxpayer completing the W-3 form based on the type of tax return the payer files. 

  • 941: Used if Form 941 is filed and no other category applies.
  • 943: For agricultural employers that use Form 943 and file W-2 forms for agricultural workers.
  • 944: Used if Form 944 is filed and no other category applies.
  • Military: For military employers that file W-2 forms for members of the uniformed services. 
  • CT-1: For railroad employers that file W-2 forms for railroad workers covered by the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA). If checking this box, don’t enter employees’ RRTA taxes in boxes 3 – 7 below. 
  • Hshld empI: For household employers that file W-2 forms for household workers whose taxes aren’t listed on forms 941, 943, or 944. 
  • Medicare govt emp: For federal, state, or local agencies that file W-2 forms for employees who are only subject to Medicare taxes.  

Kind of Employer*: Indicates if the taxpayer completing the W-3 form is a governmental or 501(c) employer. 

  • None apply: Used by all other employer types.
  • 501c non-govt: For non-governmental tax-exempt section 501(c) employers.
  • State/local non-501c: For state or local government employers with no 501(c) status.
  • State/local 501c: For state or local government employers with a 501(c) status.  
  • Federal govt: For federal government employers.
  • Third-party sick pay: For employers reporting third-party sick pay payments on Form W-2 and box 13 below, or who are a third-party sick pay provider.


Reports the total quantity of W-2 forms being summarized by this W-3 form. Note, don’t include any “VOID” W-2 forms. 


Identifies separate establishments within a single organization. Employers can use separate W-3 forms for each establishment (even if they all have the same Employer Identification Number (EIN)), or a single Form W-3 for all W-2 forms of the same type.


Identifies the employer’s 9-digit EIN assigned by the IRS. Those without an EIN should instead enter, “Applied For” in this box, and can use Form SS-4 or the IRS application website to apply for an EIN.


Reports the business or company’s name.


Reports the business or company’s physical address and ZIP code. 


Lists any prior EINs the organization used (including a prior owner’s EIN) before the current one listed in box e above.

1 – 11**

List the cumulative totals from each of the corresponding boxes on all of the W-2 forms being summarized by this W-3 form. 

For example, an employer summarizing five W-2 forms would use Form W-3’s Box 2 to report the total sum of the five Box 2 amounts from those W-2 forms.


Lists the cumulative total from each of the corresponding Box 12s with codes D – H, S, Y, AA, BB, and EE

Totals for Box 12s with codes A – C, J – R, T – W, Z, DD, and FF – II aren’t reported.


Intentionally left blank. Don’t enter anything in this box.


Only used by third-party sick pay providers or employers reporting third-party sick pay payments to report the total sum of sick pay.  


Reports the total sum of income tax withheld from employees who received sick pay from a third party. Note, this amount is already included in Box 2 above, but it must also be listed separately in this box.


Lists the abbreviation for the state or territory where the organization is located (e.g., WA) and the employer’s state or territory-assigned ID. If the W-2 forms being submitted include information for multiple states or territories, enter “X” for this area and leave the ID space blank.

16 – 19

List the cumulative totals from each of the corresponding boxes on all of the W-2 forms being summarized, even if those corresponding boxes have amounts from different states or localities.   

*Taxpayers should only select one of these boxes unless they’re also reporting third-party sick pay, in which case the “Third-party sick pay” box may also be selected. 

**Don’t enter anything in Box 9 as it’s intentionally left blank.

Finally, employers can use the fields below boxes 16 – 18 to list additional contact information (e.g., an email address or fax number) the SSA may use for questions arising during processing. 

How to Submit Form W-3

  • Online: Employers can register with the SSA’s Business Services Online (BSO) site to complete and submit all W-3 Forms electronically. This is the IRS and SSA’s preferred submission method and is required for any employer submitting 10 or more informational returns (i.e., Form W-2). Note, users should allow at least two weeks for the registration process to finish. 
  • By Mail: Employers who prefer to mail in printed returns must first order a blank W-3 Form from the IRS’ Order Tax Forms page. Copies downloaded and printed from the agency’s About Form W-3 page won’t be accepted. When ready, mail completed forms to one of the following addresses. 

Standard Mail

Certified Mail

IRS-Approved Delivery Service

Social Security Administration 
Direct Operations Center 
Wilkes-Barre, PA 

Social Security Administration 
Direct Operations Center 
Wilkes-Barre, PA 

Social Security Administration 
Direct Operations Center 
ATTN: W-2 Process 
1150 E. Mountain Dr. 
Wilkes-Barre, PA 

  • Via Payroll Provider: A third option employers can choose is to work with a payroll provider to complete and submit the W-3 forms on their behalf. Even if an employer files the final forms themselves, the BSO allows users to upload tax data from a payroll provider, so long as it meets certain format requirements


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