Common W-2 processing questions

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Change to CS Support service hours

Our Support department is closed on Friday, April 28th for a company event. However, limited Accounting CS phone support is available on that date from 9 AM - 5 PM ET due to the approaching deadline for quarterly payroll tax forms.

Links to our most popular payroll tax processing topics are available in the Alerts and notices section on the right side of most pages.

The information below lists some frequently asked questions about setting up and verifying Form W-2 in Accounting CS, along with the appropriate troubleshooting steps for each scenario.

Editing Form W-2

The answer depends on which amounts you need to change. You may need to adjust wage amounts, adjust tax withholding amounts, or add Box 12 and/or Box 14 information for employees.

Adjusting wage amounts

There are two ways to adjust the wage amounts that are reported on Form W-2.

  1. Make a year end adjustment to the taxable wages.
    1. Choose Setup > Employees and click the Payroll Taxes tab.
    2. Select the employee, and click Edit.
    3. Click the Adjust Taxable Wages link to open the Adjust Taxable Wages dialog.
    4. If necessary, click the Prior year option at the top of the dialog.
    5. Click the Ellipsis ellipsis button button in the Taxable Wage Adjustments section to open the Adjust Taxable Wages - Tax Selection dialog.
    6. Mark the checkboxes next to the taxes that should be adjusted and then click OK.
    7. Enter the adjustment amount in the Gross Taxable Wage Adj and the Taxable Wage Adj columns.
    8. Click OK to save your changes.
  2. For live payroll processing only: Make an adjustment to the taxable wages on a specific payroll check.
    1. Choose Actions > Enter Transactions.
    2. Highlight the payroll check in the list of transactions to select it.
    3. Choose Edit > Adjust Taxable Wages.
    4. In the Adjust Taxable Wages dialog, enter the correct amounts in the Adjusted Gross Taxable Wages and Adjusted Taxable Wages columns.
    5. Press OK to save your changes.

Adjusting tax withheld amounts

Amounts on Form W-2 flow from the payroll checks that are present in the Actions > Enter Transactions screen. If any of the tax withholdings were entered incorrectly on the payroll checks, the W-2 will reflect an incorrect amount. Use any of the following methods to correct amounts on a payroll check.

Choose Actions > Enter Transactions and then highlight the payroll check in the list of transactions.

  • If this is a handwritten check and liabilities have not been generated, simply correct the amounts.
  • If this is a printed check, or a handwritten check for which liabilities have been generated, you will need to delete and re-enter the check to correct the amounts.
  • If you need to move amounts from one tax to another, you can enter a new, zero amount net check with a negative amount to one tax and a positive amount to the correct tax.

Entering information for boxes 12 and 14

If there are missing Box 12 and/or 14 codes and amounts for employees, follow these steps.

  1. Choose Setup > Employees and click the Personal tab.
  2. Select the employee and click Edit.
  3. In the W-2 Information section, click the Other W-2 Items button.
  4. In the Other W-2 Items dialog, enter the applicable Box 12 and 14 information.

Note: Amounts entered for Boxes 12 and 14 using this method do not affect amounts on Form 940. If you need to adjust amounts on both Form W-2 and Form 940, use the W2 Additional Boxes section in the Setup > Payroll Items screen.

There are multiple ways to enter W-2 information for clients for whom you do not provide live payroll services.

  1. Enter one payroll check per employee with their total amounts that should appear on the W-2. See the Entering historical payroll data topic for more information.
  2. Choose Actions > Edit Payroll Tax Forms, make the appropriate form selections at the top, and then input the W-2 form data on the Employee Data tab.
  3. Use the spreadsheet import for employee data to set up employee records and import earnings for the year.

Use one or more of the following methods to correct this.

  • A birth date must be entered for each employee (before payroll checks are entered) for the application to correctly calculate 401(k) limits and taxable wage amounts on the checks. If payroll checks were entered without a birth date entered for an employee, follow these steps:
    1. Choose Setup > Employees and click the Personal tab.
    2. Enter the employee's birthday in the Birth date field.
    3. Delete and re-enter the payroll checks for the employee to correctly calculate the 401(k) amounts, taxability, and limits.
  • If you choose not to delete and re-enter payroll checks for the employee, you can manually adjust the taxable wages.
    1. Choose Setup > Employees and click the Payroll Taxes tab.
    2. Click the Adjust Taxable Wages link to open the Adjust Taxable Wages dialog.
    3. Change the tax amounts to correct the amounts on the W-2.
  • Verify that the Do not apply catch-up limit checkbox is not marked (if applicable) in the Payroll Item Settings dialog (accessed from the Ellipsis button in the Payroll Items tab of the Setup > Employees screen..

    See also: Customizing settings for employee retirement catch-up contributions and limits

  • Override the amounts on the W-2 form.
    1. Choose Actions > Edit Payroll Tax Forms and use the filter fields to view the W-2 form.
    2. On the Employee Data tab, override the amounts as necessary. Note that you may need to scroll to the right to see the necessary box information that you want to override.

By default, the application doesn't display income tax information for states that do not have individual income tax. There is no way to force the W-2 to display zero amounts.

The following states do not have income tax:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

At this time, Accounting CS does not support masking the employee SSN on any copy of the Form W-2. You can use an electronic method of delivering the employee copies of the W-2s as an alternative to mail.

  1. Choose Setup > Clients and click the Payroll Taxes tab.
  2. In the Forms section, click the Additional Information button next to the Federal W-2 line item.
  3. Select something other than None from the drop-down menu in the Signature field.
  4. Mark the Suppress date checkbox.

See also: Displaying more than three Box 14 codes on a Form W-2 layout, Adding state/local specific information to Form W-2 box 14.

Processing Form W-2

  1. Choose Actions > Process Payroll Tax Forms.
  2. Use the filtering fields to view the appropriate W-2 information, and then click the Print Options button.
  3. In the Federal Client Copy Format section, select Copy D from the Copy A drop-down list.
  4. If you want to print the Copy D Summary instead of the W-3, select Copy D Summary from the W-3 drop-down list.

    Print options dialog - Select Copy D

  5. Click OK and process your forms.

There are two ways to remove the client copy image from payroll tax forms.

Remove on a per client basis

Within Edit Payroll Tax Forms

  1. Go to Actions > Edit Payroll Tax Forms.
  2. Select the form type, year, etc.
  3. Choose File > Process Client forms.
  4. Select the forms you need to print.
  5. Click on Process Selected button.
  6. Select Filing copy.
  7. Click OK.

Within Process Payroll Tax Forms

  1. Go to Actions > Process Payroll Tax Forms.
  2. Select the form type, year, etc.
  3. Select Client and forms you need to print.
  4. Click on Process Selected button.
  5. Select Filing copy.
  6. Click OK.
Remove globally for all client payroll tax forms

This process will disable the application's default behavior of printing a watermark on all client copy forms (forms for which the Client copy checkbox is marked in the Print dialog).

  1. Go to Preferences tab of Setup > Firm Information > Firm.
  2. In the Payroll Tax Forms section select Disable watermark on client copy forms.
  3. Click OK.

The client’s copy is always displayed when previewing a payroll tax form. Selecting to disable watermark on client copy form will remove the CLIENT COPY watermark from the preview screen.

2-Up. Copy B and Copy C

3-Up. Copy B, Copy C, and Copy 2

4-Up. Copy B, Copy C, and 2 copies of Copy 2

  1. Click the Print Options button.
  2. In the Filing Method Selection section, select Per client selection. Any other selection in this field is a global override for all clients.

    Print options dialog - Filing method selection

  3. Click OK to save your changes.
  4. In the Form Selection grid, you are now able to change the Filing Method selection on a per client basis. Note that the filing methods default to whatever is set up for the forms on the Payroll Taxes tab of the Setup > Clients screen.
  1. Choose Setup > Clients and click the Payroll Taxes tab.
  2. Select the client record and click Edit.
  3. In the Forms section, scroll down to the Federal W-2 section, select Employee Self-Service in the Filing Method column for the Employee Copy line item, and save your changes.
  4. Choose Actions > Process Payroll Tax Forms and then use the filtering fields to view Form W-2.
  5. Employee Self-Service will be the default selection in the Filing Method field for any client for whom you performed steps 1 through 4.
  6. When you are ready to process the forms, click the Process Selected button to immediately send the W-2s to Employee Self Service.

If you need to print the W-2s to paper and send them to Employee Self-Service, mark the Send to Employee Self Service checkbox in the Print Options dialog to avoid processing the W-2s multiple times.

See also: Employee Self-Service overview

  1. Choose File > Layout Designer.
  2. Expand the W-2 Forms folder and the folder for the processing year.
  3. Double-click the copy of the W-2 form that is not printing correctly.

    Note: To determine which layout corresponds to which copy of the W-2 form, see Accounting CS Payroll Year-End Processing FAQs (PDF).

  4. Choose Edit > Select All.
  5. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the W-2 information so it is centered on the layout.
  6. Choose File > Save, and then close the Layout Designer.
  7. Process the W-2s again.
  1. Choose Actions > Edit Payroll Tax Forms.
  2. Use the filtering fields to view Form W-2 and then click the Refresh button.
  3. Select Copy A in the Form field, and then click the Employee Data tab.
  4. Right-click in the grid and choose Deselect All.
  5. Mark the checkbox for the employee for whom you want to re-print the form.
  6. Choose File > Process Client Forms.
  7. In the Process Client W-2 Forms dialog, mark the checkbox for the copies you want to process for this employee, and then click Process Selected.
  1. Choose Setup > Clients and click the Payroll Taxes tab.
  2. In the Forms section, press the Additional Information button next to Federal W-2.
  3. Enter or select the appropriate information in each field.

When you have a filing method of "Internet" selected for your W-2 Copy A forms, the preview will display "Client Copy" on the forms because you are not paper filing the W-2 Copy A.

Resolutions for problems creating the Internet file

The Form W-3 is not listed separately from the W-2 Copy A line item because the Social Security Administration indicates that the Internet file should contain both the Copy A and the W-3 information.

There are a few possible answers to this question. See the Nothing appears in the Process Internet/Magnetic Files screen topic for detailed information.

Although Accounting CS allows you to maximize your efficiency by batch processing many clients at the same time, with the 2016.4.0 update there is an easy way to select which clients to process Internet/Magnetic files for.

  1. Perform the steps in the Processing W-2 forms for all employees of one or more clients section in the Printing W-2 forms topic.
  2. Choose Actions > Process Internet/Magnetic Files, and then click the plus sign next to Federal W-2 Copy A.
  3. Mark the checkboxes for the clients you want to create a single file for and then click Create Files.

Accounting CS will create a folder in the location specified on the Process Internet/Magnetic Files screen for each time you perform these steps. The folder will be named "Batch File X" where X is the next batch number available.

The following are some solutions to error message that may display when you attempt to create the internet file.

  1. Choose Actions > Process Internet/Magnetic Files.
  2. Click the Transmitter Information button.
  3. In the Federal W-2 section of the Transmitter Information dialog, enter the 8-digit ID provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
  1. Choose Actions > Process Internet/Magnetic Files.
  2. Click the Transmitter Information button.
  3. In the General section of the Transmitter Information dialog, select a staff member from the File Contact drop-down list.
  4. If there are no entries in the drop-down list, close the dialog and choose Setup > Firm Information > Staff.

    Note: If you have an Alternate Preparer Block license and receive a prompt of “You must enter a Transmitter EIN” or “You must enter a Transmitter Name”, choose Setup > Firm Information > Firm and complete the Alternate Firm and Alternate EIN/SSN fields on the Main tab.

  5. Select a staff member who is a payroll form preparer and then click the Edit button.
  6. In the Preparer Information section, verify that the Payroll form preparer checkbox is marked, and the PTIN and Third party designee PIN (if applicable) are entered.
  7. In the Phone and Fax Numbers section, verify that there is a phone number entered in the Business field, and that there is an email address entered in the Email field. Add any missing information.
  8. Make the same changes for any other staff members that should be included in the list of payroll form preparers.
  9. Press Enter to save your changes.
  10. Choose Actions > Process Internet/Magnetic Files and then click the Transmitter Information button.
  11. In the General section, select the appropriate staff name, which should now display in the drop-down list.

Related topic

Workflow - Processing W-2 forms

Internal notes


It is possible to print the Copy 2 on a 2-up form. Instructions are below, but you have to sacrifice being able to use the 3-up or 4-up layout for all clients.

  1. Choose File > Layout Designer and then open up the W-2 Forms and 2016 folders.
  2. Double-click the W2COPY2 layout to open it.
  3. Click a variable, and then press Control + A on the keyboard to select everything.
  4. Press Control + C to copy everything to the clipboard.
  5. Open either the W2COPYB2C or W2COPYBC layout.
  6. Delete everything on it (use the same method as step 3 above).
  7. Paste the Copy 2 items you copied above.
  8. Choose File > Page Setup and verify that the Recipients per page is 1.
  9. Ask the customer if they have the Duplex printing of IRS instructions for employee W-2s checkbox marked.
    If yes, but they have paper with the instructions already on it, delete everything on the W2COPYB2C Instructions or W2COPYBC Instructions layout.
  10. Save everything, and then process the 3-up or 4-up W-2s and it will print two copies of Copy 2 instead.

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