Generate and E-file W2/W3 Using Payroll Function (CWU)



CWU: How do I generate, print, and e-file W2s and W3s using the payroll function?


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.

  • To print W2/W3s without setting up payroll ("on the fly"), see Related Links below.
  1. Set up Employees. 
    1. At Employees > Employee Setup, set up applicable information for each employee.
    2. At Employees > Live Payroll, create Live Payroll entry and print checks with dates reflecting a current year date.
    3. At Employees > ATF Payroll, create ATF payroll with dates reflecting a current year date.
  2. Generate and Print W2s. Select Employees > Process W2s to open the End of Year W2 screen.
    1. Processing places an "X" in the W2 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 Setup > Client Information 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.
      1. Process All. Processes every employee in the list.
      2. Process Single. Processes a selected employee on the list.
    2. View/Print options become available after processing.
      1. View/Edit opens a selected W2 or the employer's W3 in an edit screen, allowing you to review, edit and save changes for each W2 or to the W3 as needed. After a W2 is edited, processing resets it to the original payroll values. Do not reprocess an edited W2 unless you intend to reset it. The W3 is modified when a W2 is changed by editing or reprocessing.
      2. Print All, Single and W3 enable the Print button and a selection of print jobs in the Types area. CWU printing produces a PDF copy in Adobe Reader. To physically print the copy, use Adobe Reader's print function.
    3. Types options. These options define the kind of print job you want. The default print format is 2-Up (two different employee W2s on the same page, one above the other). If you want to enable 4-Up or 4-Dn printing, see Related Links below. IRS red line forms are required for the W2G.
      1. SSA - Copy A defaults to print a standard approved SSA form and data using blank paper. Select Data Only to print to SSA forms. In either case, the entire page is approved for filing - do not separate the top and bottom halves of the page.
      2. Other copies all and individual copy selections print form and data (or data only to SSA forms) suitable for issuance to client employees for their tax returns.
    4. Forms options. Forms and Data prints the completed form and data on blank paper. Data Only prints the data only to a preprinted form (to adjust form alignment, click the Forms Adjust button or go to Firm > Form Printing Adjustments).
  3. 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. See “W2 State e-Filing in CWU” (Related Links below).
    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 http://www.socialsecurity.gov/bso/bsowelcome.htm 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-filing > W2 E-Filing (EFW2) > Create File
      1. Complete the Federal EFW2/W3 Submission screen and select Save Screen, making sure to select Regular W2's. (This must be done in each Client’s file.)
      2. Click Create File
      3. Follow prompts to generate the transmission file.
    3. Location of transmission files. A federal and a state transmission file are both created on the drive where CWU is installed.
      1. The federal transmission file is at CWU20YY\CLIENTS\[client code]\Efile_W2s\W2REPORT_[client code].TXT. This information appears in a pop-up and at the bottom of the Federal EFW2 Submission screen. Write down name and location of the transmission file so you can find it later:
      2. The state transmission file is in the folder CWU20YY\Clients\[client code]\[state code]_W2Report. The file is named or starts with "W2REPORT". (For example, the North Carolina file might appear as C:\CWU20YY\CLIENTS\005\NC_W2Report\W2REPORT.)
        The transmission file contains all of the information that is needed to transmit. CWU does not generate a separate W3 to e-file. It is included with the W2 file that is created.
    4. E-file review.
      1. Go to E-Filing > W2 E-filing > Transmit File. Check the box W2 files have not been tested using AccWage. Click Open Web Site
      2. The AccuWage Online webpage will open. Follow AccuWage's instructions to test your file upload.
      3. 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.
      4. When there are no errors, proceed to e-file transmission.
      5. State file. If you have to correct errors and recreate the federal file, use the state file created with the error-free federal file.
    5. E-file transmission:  E-filing > W2 E-Filing (EFW2) > Transmit File takes you to the Transmit Federal EFW2 screen.
    6. Select the option that W2 files have been tested using AccuWage. Then click the button Open Web Site.This will take you to the Business Services Online welcome page where you can log in and complete the e-file process. 
      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. Note: CWU 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 based on the selection you made on the Create screen.
      5. State transmission. Follow instructions at the state site where you e-file. The states where CWU can e-file, and the names and locations of state transmission files created in CWU, are listed in “W2 State e-Filing in CWU” (Related Links below).

For a video overview of the W-2 creation and e-file process in CWU, see CWU Preparing to e-file W-2s and 1099s,  CWU Payroll Filings and CWU e-Filing W-2s and 1099s.