Knowledge Base

15211: Generate and E-file Forms W2 & W3 (DAS)


Drake Accounting®: How do I generate, process, print, and e-file W2s and W3s using the payroll function?

Drake Accounting® produces W-2 forms for employees based on earnings throughout a year. The employee must be set up and at least one payroll check printed and dated in the processing year or an ATF check recorded with a check date in the processing year. Only payments made with a check date in the processing year are included in the employee’s W-2.

2018 forms W2 and W3 must be generated, processed, and efiled through DAS 2018. 

W-2 information must be “processed” before being saved/printed or uploaded to the Social Security Administration. “Processing” prepares the W-2s to be printed and automatically generates the W-3.

This article assumes you use live or ATF payroll functions and have purchased the software. W2/W3 printing and e-filing are not available in the free evaluation software. 

This process will take us through multiple steps. Click on a link to access it directly:

IRS Alert: The Electronic Wage Reporting suite of services will be unavailable from 6:00 AM EST on Friday, 12/07/2018 until 5:00 AM EST on Monday, 12/10/2018 to accommodate upgrades for the Tax Year 2018 filing season.
This includes the AccuWage Online, W-2 Online and EFW2 Wage File Upload Services.

We will resume accepting electronic submissions, to include those for Tax Year 2018, on 12/10/2018.

Reminder: Tax Year 2018 wage reports must be filed with the Social Security Administration by January 31, 2019.
Users will be able to e-file beginning on 12/10/2018. This is earlier than usual, as the SSA doesn’t normally start accepting them until the 1st of Jan.

To get started, you must first have employees and payroll set up. If this is already done, skip to step 2. 

  1. Set up Employees
    1. At Employees > Employee Setup, set up applicable information for each employee.
    2. Enter or record payroll: 
      1. At Employees > Live Payroll, create Live Payroll entry and print checks with dates reflecting a current year date.
      2. At Employees > ATF Payroll, create ATF payroll with dates reflecting a current year date.
  2. Generate and Print W2s. Select Employees > Federal Forms.
    1. Under Form Type select Forms W-2/W-3.
    2. Then select W-2 in the Form drop list. 
    3. Process W-2s either for all employees at once (default) or individually.
      • Select the check box to the left of the Name column header to process forms W-2 for all employees.
      • Clear the check box to the left of the Name column header, then select the individual employees to process forms W-2 for just those select employees.
    4. Click Process. Processing places an check in the Processed column in the list next to each employee for which a W2 has been processed. A W2 cannot be processed unless:
      • A W3 Kind of Employer and a W3 Kind of Payer selection has been made at Client > Edit on the W2/W3-1099/1098 Setup tab. A warning message appears when you try to process W2s if this selection has not been made.
      • Payroll has been entered or printed with a current year date for an employee selected for processing.
      If an employee's W2 column remains blank after processing and these selections have been made, review check status for the employee.
    5. Save/Print options become available after processing.
      1. Double click an employee to view their W-2.
        1. Their W2 will display in an edit screen on the right, allowing you to review, edit and save changes for each W2 as needed.
        2. After a W2 is edited, processing resets it to the original payroll values.
        3. Do not reprocess an edited W2 unless you intend to reset it.
        4. The W3 is automatically modified when a W2 is changed by editing or reprocessing.
      2. Choose the radio button to select which copies you want to print: 
        1. SSA- Copy A— This option prints a copy of the W-2 for the Social Security Administration.
        2. Other Copies All— Use this option to select to print all copies other than copy A.
        3. Other— This option selects all copies to be printed, including copy A. Clear any check boxes for copies you do not wish to print.
      3. Click the Save/Print button. You will be prompted to save a copy in Drake Documents, select Yes or No.
      4. A preview of the completed form shows. Save a PDF copy or choose to physically print the copy, using the Printer icon.
  1. Print Form W3 by selecting Print W-3 at the left of the window. The W3 will display in a separate PDF window. 
    1. Control Number (optional) — A control number is a unique number assigned by an employer to identify individual W-2 wage and tax statements. Enter a control number if desired.
    2. Establishment Number (optional) — This number may be used by the employer to identify separate business establishments or locations within the company for internal tracking purposes. Enter an establishment number if desired.
    3. Electronic Signature — If an electronic signature has been set, select the desired signature from the drop list that should be used to sign the W-3. If electronic signatures have not been set up to be used with tax forms, the Electronic Signature drop list will be empty.
  2. e-File W2/W3.
    State wage reports can be e-filed only if the specific state e-file function has been programmed. Some state wage reports can be e-filed. 
    1. e-Filing Setup.
      1. Create payroll and process W2/W3 as stated above. You do not have to print W2/W3 in order to generate a transmission file.
      2. The individual transmitting the W2/W3 must have a user ID and password assigned by the SSA. To receive this, go to and select Register. Follow the prompts. You will be assigned the login information needed to submit the W2/W3 electronically.
    2. e-File creation. At e-Filings > W-2 > Create File
      1. Complete the Federal e-Filings W-2 screen. 
      2. Click Create File
      3. An alert box shows confirming that the file was created and where it is located. Take note of the file location(s) location before exiting the window..
    3. e-File review with AccuWage.
      1. Go to e-Filings > W-2 > Transmit File. Click the link to the AccuWage Online or SSA website. Follow AccuWage's instructions to test your file.
      2. If the file generates errors, correct them before submitting to the SSA. After correcting the errors, create the file again and review it on the AccuWage website to confirm that it is error-free before proceeding.
      3. When there are no errors, proceed to e-file transmission.
      4. State file. If you have to correct errors and recreate the federal file, use the state file created with the error-free federal file.
    4. After you have tested your e-file transmission, you can complete the upload by using the Business Services Online login on the AccuWage website or proceed to the next step. 
    5. Submitting the file. Return to the Transmit W-2 screen located under e-Filings > W-2 > Transmit File. Select the option that W2 files have been tested using AccuWage. Then click the link Click here to link to the Social Security Website. This will take you to the Social Security website where you can log in and complete the e-file process by uploading the file from step 4(b)(iii)
      1. After completing the process, you will receive an acknowledgement that the SSA has accepted the file format you have transmitted.
      2. Remember or write down the SSA file name provided in the SSA acknowledgement. In case there is an error or an SSA inquiry and you must transmit again, you have to associate the SSA file name with the appropriate client’s Efile_W2s file that you initially transmitted.
      3. DAS will not receive any other type of acknowledgement from the SSA for the W2 package you submit.
      4. The SSA will review the file in detail during the next few months. If there’s a question, the SSA will contact you.
      5. State transmission. Follow instructions at the state site where you e-file.

Printing with NELCO forms.

  • W-2 options. These options, located at Clients > Add/Edit > W-2/W-3/1099/1098 Setup tab > W-2 Information, define the printing format you want for the active client. The default print format is 2-Up (two different employee W2s on the same page, one above the other). If you want to enable 3-Up, 4-Up, or 4-Dn printing, choose the corresponding radio button.
  • The 4-Up and 4-Dn forms are not SSA issued, but they are SSA approved forms submitted by NELCO. For the best results, we recommend using:
    • 4-Up form number - NELCO BW24UP
    • 4-Down form number - NELCO BW24DWN
  • If the form and data are not printing correctly on the pre-printed forms, you can to adjust form alignment, by going to Firm > Adjust Tax Form Printing.
  • Based on 2-Up, 4-Up, and 4-Dn formatting, Copy B and Copy C cannot be printed on the same page. The format also directs that 2 or 4 distinct employees' W2s will be printed on the same page.
  • The 3-Up W-2 format allows for a each page to contain one Employee's Copy B, Copy 2, and Copy C.

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