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    E-file W-2 and W-3 in QuickBooks Desktop

    Article ID: 1002579


    E-filing your Copy A of W-2s and your W-3 to Social Security Administration (SSA) in QuickBooks Desktop is easy and saves you the cost of printing an extra copy. This article outlines the tasks you have to perform to e-file the form in QuickBooks:

    1. Setup Federal W-2 and W-3 for e-file in QuickBooks Desktop.
    2. Prepare and e-file Copy A of W-2s and W3 in QuickBooks Desktop.

    Expected Outcome

    You will be able to e-file your Copy A of W-2s and your W-3 to Social Security Administration in QuickBooks Desktop.

    You need to perform the following separately:

    • Provide your employees Copies B, C, and 2 of Form W-2.
    • Print and keep a copy of W-2 Copy D and the Filing Instructions for your records.

      See also Print W-2 forms


    To e-file in QuickBooks Desktop, you need:

    • An active QuickBooks Desktop Enhanced Payroll subscription
    • A supported version of QuickBooks Desktop
    • An internet connection
    • The most recent payroll update

    You don't need to enroll with the SSA in order to e-file Forms W-2/W-3.


    From top toolbar of QuickBooks Desktop, click Employees > Payroll Center.

    Open the QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Setup.

    In the Payroll Center, go to the Pay Liabilities tab. From the Other Activities list at the bottom, click Change Filing Method, and continue with the next steps below.

    Click Continue.

    Select Federal Form W-2/W-3 from the list of forms and click Edit.

    Select E-file and click Finish. This will open the enrollment instructions which you can read and print.  Note that you don't need to enroll to SSA to be able to e-file your Copy A of W-2s and your W-3. 

    Close the View Enrollments window.

    At the lower left of the QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Setup window, click Finish Later.

    You can now e-file your Copy A of W-2 and W-3 moving forward in QuickBooks Desktop.

    Choose Employees > Payroll Tax Forms and W-2s > Process Payroll Forms.

    Select the W-2 Form from the list of forms:

    In the File Forms section, select Annual Form W-2/W-3 - Wage and Tax Statement/Transmittal and click the Create Form button.

    • In finding the form, use the scroll bar to scroll down the list.
    • If you don't see the form in the list, the form may be inactive. To activate the form, click the Forms drop-down arrow, and choose Make a New Form Active. Click the State drop-down arrow and choose Federal.  Select the W-2 form, and click Add Form. You should now be able to find and select the W-2 form in the File Forms section.
    QuickBooks Desktop has a limitation when processing payroll forms. It can process up to $9,999,999.99 only in any box of a form. When you process W-2 Forms, QuickBooks Desktop will also process the Form W-3 which is a summary of the W-2s. If at least one value or box in your W-2 or W-3 Forms is greater than $9,999,999.99, process the forms by batch in step 3. The IRS accepts batch filing.

    If you exceed the limit or if you have more than 800 employees, an error will appear in QuickBooks Desktop. See Printing W-2 forms with total payroll in excess of $9,999,999.99 or 800 employees causes error

    In the Process W-2s for options, select All Employees or select Employee's Last Name (choose From and To) to file by batch.

    In the SELECT FILING PERIOD section, in the Year field, enter the year of the form you are filing and click OK.

    In the Select Employees for Form W-2/W-3 window, select the employees you are filing for. You can also click Mark All to select all employees displayed.

    If a Warning window appears, there are errors in the form that you need to fix. Click View Errors to fix the errors in the form. After fixing the error, click Submit Form.

    Click on the E-File Federal Forms.

    Enter the Phone Number and the E-mail address of your company on the login screen. Intuit uses your e-mail address to notify you when your submission is processed by the agency. The Phone Number is included in the electronic transmission to the agency.

    Important! If you ask QuickBooks Desktop to remember your contact information, and you later contact the agency and change this information, remember to update the login information that QuickBooks Desktop has saved.

    Click Submit.

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