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W-2 News
For Employers and Businesses Who Submit W-2 Forms
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Welcome to W-2 News, the electronic newsletter for employers who submit W-2s to Social Security.

Issue 2008-01
January 31, 2008

Special Wage Reporting Edition

Social Security is currently processing tax year 2007 Forms W-2. We have identified several areas of potential concern.




Returned Activation Codes

We discovered a mail problem involving activation codes for those who recently registered for a Business Services Online User ID. This should not impact your sending wage reports (Forms W-2) to Social Security, but may impact your request to access the Social Security Number Verification Service.


If you provided a three-line address, Social Security erroneously printed only two lines of the address on the envelope. The missing line made it difficult for the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the mail accordingly. When the mail was returned to Social Security, we manually corrected the address and re-mailed the activation code. The correction was made as of January 16, 2008.

Note: Valid two-line addresses were not affected and you should have received the activation code letter.

How this impacts you:

You may wait longer than normal to receive your activation code. We apologize for the delay.

If you requested another activation code prior to January 16, the second request will produce a second activation code, and the first activation code will no longer be valid because the second request automatically cancelled the first request.

If your first activation code letter arrives, and you had requested another activation code, if you attempt to use the “expired” activation code (not knowing that your second request cancelled the first request) for three attempts, Social Security will automatically apply the “three strikes” rule and you will also cancel your second activation code.

If you are not sure which request contains the first or second activation code, or have unknowingly cancelled the first or second request, we recommend that you try each code two times only. If they both fail you should not try a third time. Please wait until you receive another activation code letter before you try again.

Also read “Is it a Zero or an ‘O’?” for additional information about activation codes.

Note: If you did not request a second activation code letter, your first activation code is still valid.

If you are having problems or need assistance, call 800-772-6270 to speak with an Employer Customer Service Representative. For TTD/TTY call 1-800-325-0778.


Relocation of the Social Security Number on the Form W-2

Social Security and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) moved the “Employee’s Social Security Number” (SSN) box on the Form W-2 from “ Box d ” to “ Box a.” The “Control Number” box, used optionally by some employers to identify individual Forms W-2, was moved from “ Box a” to “ Box d.” The Form ID number (“22222”) and the “Void” boxes were also relocated to the top left corner of the Form W-2. These changes were made to enhance processing efficiency and to protect the employee’s SSN from public disclosure when employers provide Forms W-2 to their employees using a window envelope.


Social Security has received numerous paper Forms W-2 with the SSN in the improper position. Improper position of the SSN can delay processing. In addition, there has been a large number of paper Forms W-2 with the surname in an improper position. In many instances, the surname is overlapping the preprinted “22222” in the top left corner of the W-2.

Other problem areas on the paper Forms W-2 include:

  • SSNs in the Employee Identification Number (EIN) box,
  • Data overlapping the VOID box,
  • Forms W-2 with 2007 printed on them, but are not the new revised forms, 
  • Forms W-2 showing no Form ID box, and
  • SSNs printed in the top left corner.  


Review your paper Forms W-2, especially Copy A, to ensure that they are printed accurately prior to mailing them to Social Security’s Wilkes-Barre Data Operations Center.

For a copy of the Form W-2 Instructions go to

For a copy of the Form W-2 go to



Calls to the Employer 800 Number

Our call center personnel receive more calls in January and February than we are able to accommodate within a reasonable wait time.

In order to help expedite the wage reporting process, you may want to visit our website at and select the “Before You File” and/or “Electronic W-2 Filers” sections for answers to many of your questions. Also, you can visit “Frequently Asked Questions” at



Is it a Zero or an “O”?

Some users are having problems with temporary password and activation code letters when one character looks like it could be one of two characters. For example, a capital "O" could be mistaken for a zero (0), or a lower case "l" could be mistaken for a one (1). We recommend that you try the other choice if the first choice doesn't work.



Registration for Users from a U.S. Territory

If you are a new user residing in a U.S. territory and need to register for the first time, please call 1-800-772-6270 to speak with an Employer Customer Service Representative. For TDD/TTY call 1-800-325-0778. Once you have completed the registration over the phone, please return to the “Business Services Online Welcome Page” ( and select “Complete Phone Registration.” We are currently working to update an online registration process.



SSA/IRS Reporter

The SSA/IRS Reporter is a newsletter issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It publishes articles about employment and business tax compliance. The SSA/IRS Reporter also carries general information about best payroll and employment tax practices as well as SSA and IRS products and services.

Current and past issues are available in both English and Spanish on and and search for "Reporter."

  For more information on reporting employee wages to Social Security visit our website.

Employers may contact Social Security with wage reporting questions or problems.
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