form 1099 misc and w2 datesBusinesses should be aware of new due dates for filing Forms 1099-MISC for their independent contractors, and employee W-2 forms.

Previously, businesses had until the end of February to file these 1099s and W-2s with the IRS and the Social Security Administration (or by March 31 if filed electronically). Now, the due dates have been accelerated.

Starting with returns for the 2016 calendar year (which must be filed in early 2017), the new due date for 1099 and W-2 filings is January 31. The March 31 due date for electronic filings is no longer available. All 2016 Forms 1099-MISC and W-2s must be filed with the IRS and the Social Security Administration by January 31, 2017. One 30-day extension may be requested for the 2016 filings. To obtain this extension, you must file Form 8809, “Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns,” by no later than January 31.

NOTE:  The deadline to supply payee statements to recipients remains January 31, with no extensions allowed.

The goal of the new earlier deadline is to give the IRS more time to spot errors on tax returns. Having the statements already filed and on hand before the related income tax returns come in, will make it easier for the tax agency to verify the legitimacy of those returns and properly issue refunds to taxpayers eligible to receive them.

Reducing tax refund fraud has been a priority of the federal government in recent years, and this new timing is one of many steps being taken to assist in that effort.