W-2: Year-end processing steps for a W-2-only client

Alerts and notices

Important reminder!

Product support for Engagement CS is ending on September 30, 2020. See Engagement CS license expiration 2020 - frequently asked questions for more information.

Licenses for Payroll CS, Trial Balance CS, and Write-Up CS permanently expired on March 1, 2017.

Some processes documented in the Help & How-To Center are no longer applicable, due to the discontinuation of Creative Solutions Accounting.

Payroll Compliance module

This topic covers the setup and processing for a W-2 only client in CSA.

See also

Global W-2 Form Processing

W-2 and 1099 year-end processing overview

W-2 or 1099 file utilities and transmitter information for W-2s and 1099s

Special state issues for W-2s

Importing the client and employee information from a W-2 file

  1. Choose Utilities > Data Conversion > W-2 File Import. (This automatically creates a new CSA client and completes the fields in the General Information tab and Payroll tab of the Client Properties dialog as well as the General tab and Personal/W-2 tab of the Employees window.)
  2. (Recommended) Choose Setup > Employee Templates and define at least one template to include all of the pay, deduction, and withholding items that will be needed for the client's employees.
  3. For each employee, the default department is already selected in the Setup > Employees window, but you may select another department, if appropriate. Also specify the template that you created in step 2 above.


  • W-2 File Conversion [Utilities menu, Data Conversion]
  • If you are a licensed user of Payroll CS, you may wish to open the Add/Remove Modules dialog (from the File > Client Properties dialog) and clear the Payroll CS checkbox.
  • When you import from a W-2 file, the Payroll date (current-period ending date) defaults to the month and year of the system date on your computer.

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Setting up the client and employee information from scratch

  1. Choose File > New Client and select just the Payroll Compliance module.
    1. In the General Information tab of the New Client dialog, complete all of the fields.
    2. In the Payroll tab, enter the current-period ending date (12/31/xx). You must also specify all of the states relevant to employee state withholding for any of the client's employees.
  2. (Recommended) Choose Setup > Employee Templates and define at least one template to include all of the pay, deduction, and withholding items that will be needed for the client's employees.
  3. Create a record for each employee by choosing Setup > Employees. The following information is needed for each employee record:
    1. In the General tab of the employees window, enter the ID, name, address, and SSN. Select the default department for each employee (or another department), and also specify the template that you created in step 2 above.
    2. In the Personal/W-2 tab, enter any supplemental amounts to be printed on the W-2.

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Entering current-year earnings information for each employee

  1. From Edit mode in the Earnings tab of the Setup > Employees window, press F3 and then choose Earnings History. In the Earnings History dialog, enter the total year-to-date amount for each pay, withholding, and deduction item. Note that you may enter the amounts in any column (January or December, for example).

    Note: If you imported the client and employee information from a W-2 file, the Display checkboxes at the bottom of the Earnings History dialog will be unmarked by default. Before you can enter any information here, you first need to mark at least the following checkboxes: Amounts, Monthly, and Regular.

  2. You may wish to print or preview the Earnings Report to assist you in reviewing and verifying the employee information. Choose File > Print Reports, and then double-click Earnings Report to select it.
  3. Choose Utilities > W-2 Form Processing and then choose the processing year.
    1. In the Form Selection tab of the W-2 Form Processing dialog, mark the checkbox for each type of form that you wish to print and, for each selection, specify the number of copies you want to print (if more than one) and then select both the paper type and the printer that you want to use.
    2. Your Windows default printer is automatically selected as the printer for each form. You may click the Printer button to choose a different default printer, and you may select a non-default printer for any form. To minimize the number of paper changes that you will need to make during the printing process, you may use a different printer (or printer tray) for each type of paper that you will be using.
    3. To prepare W-2s using W-2 files rather than on paper, mark the checkbox labeled Create W-2 file.
    4. In the Print Options tab of the dialog, select the appropriate options for the following areas: Sort order, FICA adjustment, Summary forms,Limited information, and State.
    5. Most of the data in the W-3 Information tab of the dialog transfers automatically from the File > Client Properties dialog. Enter or verify the information in each field. Note that contact information is automatically transferred from the Advanced Properties dialog in Client Properties; or you may complete those fields here.
    6. You may use the Special Variables tab of the W-2 Form Properties dialog to assign specific values to employees for W-2 processing purposes.
    7. Use the Employee Selection tab of the dialog to choose the employees for whom you wish to print W 2s. (Print all employees is already selected as the default option.)
    8. When you have finished making your selections in the W-2 Form Processing dialog, click the Print button to initiate the printing of the selected forms (on paper or to W-2 files). The forms will print in the order in which they are listed in the Form Selection tab of the W-2 Form Processing dialog.

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