Although we are only a few weeks into the new year, church treasurers hopefully have already given W-2s to employees, Form 1099s to independent contractors, and charitable receipts to all that contributed more than $250 at any one time to the church over the past year. All of these tasks are critically important and should be accomplished immediately.
With a change in the law (Public Law 114-113), it is now more important than ever that these tasks be completed as quickly as possible. Historically, an employer/church has been required to provide its employees with a W-2 prior to January 31 – and to provide a 1099 by January 31 to independent contractors who cumulatively received more than $600 over the course of the year. These provisions and requirements have not changed.
However, previously a copy of the employer’s W-2s and 1099s did not have to be sent to the Social Security Administration and Internal Revenue Service until later. If you were sending paper copies, they had to be sent by the end of February and if you were filing them electronically, you had until the end of March to transmit those forms. This delay allowed employers to correct W-2s and 1099s before they were filed with the government.
Under the change in the law, these forms now must be transmitted to the Social Security Administration (W-2s) and to the Internal Revenue Service (1099s) by the end of January. Therefore, all W-2s and Form 1099s must be forwarded to the individuals AND to the appropriate governmental agency by no later than January 31.
Because of this change, it is recommended that you get the W-2s and 1099s out to the individuals as early as possible so that changes, if necessary, can be made prior to the mandatory filing date of January 31.
Further, church treasurers should consider using the government’s electronic filing system (https://www.ssa.gov/employer/) to complete both their W-2s and W-3. After a simple registration process, W-2s can be completed, printed, and then filed electronically.
Just remember that if you wait to file your W-2s and 1099s with the government in February or March, you will be late. The new deadline is January 31.