Hints for Preventing Resubmission Notices from Social Security

Social Security recommends checking W-2 annual wage report files for the following errors before submitting. Reducing these errors lessens the possibility of receiving a resubmission notice.

Note: These checks only apply to original (W-3/W-2) submissions. Original submissions must be formatted according to Social Security's Specifications for Filing Forms W-2 Electronically (EFW2) format.

checkTo Avoid Balancing Errors:

  • Compare this year's RT and optional RU Record totals with the source payroll record data to identify possible errors (e.g. confirm RT/RU Record money field totals are correct);
  • Do not use negative numbers and non-numeric characters in RW, RO, RT, and RU Record money fields;
  • Check that all employee wage records begin with the letters RW and RO;
  • Make sure that money field totals in RT and optional RU Records are discrete for every report. (Ex: The RT and RU money field totals for Report #2 should reflect only the money amounts in Report #2.) Do not accumulate RT/RU Record totals from one report to the next.)

checkTo Avoid Medicare-Related Errors in RW Records:

  • Make sure that the sum of Social Security Wages and Social Security Tips is greater than zero if Social Security Tax is greater than zero;
  • Make sure that Medicare Wages and Tips is greater than zero if Medicare Tax is greater than zero;
  • If the sum of Social Security Wages and Social Security Tips is greater than zero, make sure that Medicare Wages and Tips is greater than or equal to that sum.

checkTo Avoid Errors Related to Tax Year:

  • Make sure that the value provided in the Tax Year field of the RE Record is a number between 1978 and the most recently completed tax year, NOT the current calendar year;
  • Exception: If you are submitting a report for an employer that is going out of business and are intentionally submitting it before the Tax Year has ended, do not include reports for any other Tax Years.

checkTo Avoid Formatting Errors:

checkTo Avoid Errors Caused by Missing or Misidentified Records:

  • Make sure that all records begin with RA, RE, RW, RO, RS, RT, RU, RV or RF;
  • Check that submissions contain exactly one RA and one RF Record;
  • Check that every RE Record is followed by one or more RW Records;
  • Check that every RE Record has exactly one corresponding RT Record;
  • If the report contains any optional RO Records, check that the RE Record has exactly one corresponding RU Record;
  • Check that all records are in the proper EFW2 format order: RA, { RE, [ RW, RO (if any), RS (if any) ], RT, RU (if any RO) RV (optional, if any RS) } , RF – where { } and [ ] denote multiple iterations.

checkTo Avoid Errors Related to Employer Identification Number (EIN):

  • Enter the submitter EIN in the RA Record and the employer EIN in the RE Record;
  • The employer EIN should normally match the EIN under which tax payments were submitted to the IRS under Form 941, 943, 944, CT-1 or Schedule H;
  • Do not use non-numeric characters in the RE Record Employer/Agent EIN field;
  • Do not use 00, 07, 08, 09, 17, 18, 19, 28, 29, 49, 69, 70, 78, 79 or 89 in positions 8 and 9 of the RE Record Employer/Agent EIN field;
  • If wage reports and tax payments are to be filed under the Employer's EIN, enter the EIN of the Employer in the RE Record Employer/Agent EIN field (positions 8- 16).
  • If the earnings are reported by a type of Agent that files wage reports and tax payments under the Agent's EIN (Ex: 2678 Agent), enter the Agent's EIN in the RE Record positions 8-16, and enter the Employer's EIN in the “Agent for EIN” field (RE Record positions 17-25).

checkTo Avoid Errors Resulting from Incorrect Money Amounts:

  • Check to see that RW, RO, RT and RU Record money amounts are all numeric characters and within the maximum (and minimum) amounts your company pays to any one employee;
  • Verify that your payroll system has the correct Social Security Wages maximum (Social Security limit) entered and that all employee reports do not exceed that limit;
  • Verify by spot checking at least three employees (one - a maximum wage earner, one - a minimum wage earner, and one in between) to see that your system is withholding the correct percentages of Social Security and Medicare Tax;
  • Verify by checking at least three employees to see if your system is following the correct Federal Income Tax rate tables.

See EFW2 and EFW2C for detailed file formats. The Employer Services Liaison Officer for your region may be able to help you develop additional strategies for preventing resubmission notices. Liaison Office contact information is available on the Contact the Experts page. Social Security encourages employers and third-party submitters to use the AccuWage (and AccuW2c) software to verify the format of W-2 (and W-2c) wage-data files before submitting them. To download AccuWage and AccuW2c, visit our AccuWage Software page.