Next steps for ensuring name/SSN accuracy


The SSA’s cracking down on certain errors in Form W-2 submissions, and it plans to notify employers about the issues this summer.


Here’s what you need to know.


Mismatch notification


The agency recently started sending letters to employers that submitted at least one 2017 Form W-2 with a name and Social Security Number (SSN) that doesn’t match what the agency has on file.


This could be due to situations like a name change after a marriage or divorce, or a data entry error.


Initially, the notices will just be informational. They’ll let employers and third-party payroll service providers know there was a mismatch on at least one of their W-2s, without listing any details, and they’ll offer resources to correct the problem an improve accuracy in the future.


The 2018 forms will be under more scrutiny, an SSA official noted during a Payroll Industry Call held by the IRS in August.


Starting in Spring 2019, it’ll send more specific letters to employers who have at least one mismatch involving a worker’s name and SSN. These letters will spell out how many problems were found and tell companies they must correct the errors.


Additional enforcement action or federal penalties could follow. To ensure accuracy, Payroll pros may want to use Business Services Online (BSO) to submit W-2s. BSO scans the W-2s in each wage file and generates reports highlighting problems to be corrected before submission.


You can also use BSO to verify workers’ SSNs and find any name/number mismatches right away.


Correcting problems


If you do find an error, either through BSO or via a notice from the SSA, the agency has a sample letter you can give to employees that asks them to provide the correct info. Find it here:


It’s also helpful to periodically ask employees to verify that the info reported on Form W-2 matches with what’s listed on their Social Security cards. If it doesn’t they should update their records with you or the agency.


More info: