For businesses, year-end brings with it a wide range of accounting and administrative headaches, including, of course, closing the books and reporting wages and income for all staff and contractors. And it all takes place during one of the most frantic months on the calendar.
The processes and regulations that go along with year-end W-2 and 1099 reporting are enough to make any business owner want to run and hide from it all, or at least wish for some simple solutions for managing the burden. Greatland is the country's leading provider of W-2 and 1099 products and resources for business. The company's speedEfiler.com service is a web-based wage-reporting tool that lets small and mid-size businesses and professional accountants to file their W-2 and 1099 forms online, and have copies printed and mailed directly to employees or other recipients.
Greatland offers business owners the following tips for taking some of the stress out of year-end W-2 and 1099 reporting:
First, resist the temptation to do it all. Business owners know they will often have to wear many hats, but this doesn't have to be one of those times. There are some simple and affordable options for outsourcing W-2 and 1099 reporting, as well as resources that will guide you through the process of doing it yourself.
If you don't keep track throughout the year, go through your accounting and payroll records to determine which recipients are due to receive a Form 1099. Doing this prior to year-end or in early January can reduce the amount of time it takes to figure it all out at crunch time.
Verify you have correct personnel records, including the correct mailing addresses and social security numbers. Give employees and contractors an opportunity to update their mailing addresses. Consider reminding them via e-mail or by printing a message on their check stub. If you are still missing information from contractors, use Form W-9 to collect the data.
Bring all general ledger accounts postings up-to-date and reconcile those that impact wages, taxes and business expenses.
Take the weather into account when considering all government filing due dates. If you think bad weather could keep you away from work, and therefore prevent you from filing, try to submit the forms a few days early in order to be timely and relieve the pressure.
Before completing Forms W-2 and 1099, be sure to read the first page of the instructions where the IRS provides information on any new or changed reporting requirements for the year
Finally, measure twice, cut once. That's sage advice when it comes to home improvement projects, but the same principle applies when it comes to W-2 and 1099 reporting. Take the time up front to do a thorough data review and save yourself time – and potential fines – on the back end.
Greatland also reminds business owners that the deadline to have Forms 1099 and W-2 to contractors and employees is Jan. 31, 2013 – meaning forms must be mailed and postmarked on or before this date.