An employee's social security number (SSN) consists of nine digits separated as follows: 000-00-0000. You must get each employee's name and SSN and enter them on the employee's wage and tax statement, Form W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, or Form W-2VI. If you do not report the employee's correct name and SSN, you may owe a penalty unless you have reasonable cause. See Publication 1586, Reasonable Cause Regulations and Requirements for Missing and Incorrect Name/TINs for information on the requirement to solicit the employee's SSN. taxmap/pubs/p80-003.htm#en_us_publink1000233936
You should ask the employee to show you his or her social security card. The employee may show the card if it is available. You may, but you are not required to, photocopy the social security card if the employee provides it. If an employee does not have a social security card or needs a new one, the employee should apply for one on Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, and submit the necessary documentation. See the back cover of this publication for information on how to get and where to send the form. The employee must complete and sign Form SS-5; it cannot be filed by the employer. If your employee has applied for an SSN but has not received the card before you must file your Form W-2 reports, and you are filing your reports on paper, enter "Applied For" in box d. Enter all zeroes in the SSN block if filing electronically. When the employee receives the SSN, file Copy A of Form W-2c, Corrected Wage and Tax Statement, with SSA to show the employee's SSN.taxmap/pubs/p80-003.htm#en_us_publink1000233937
The SSA offers employers and authorized reporting agents three methods for verifying employee SSNs. Some verification methods require registration. For more information, call 1-800-772-6270.
- Internet. Verfify up to 10 names and numbers (per screen) online using the Social Security Number Verification System (SSNVS) and receive immediate results, or upload batch files of up to 250,000 names and numbers and usually receive results the next government business day.
- Telephone. Verify up to ten names and numbers with Telephone Number Employer Verification (TNEV) by calling 1-800-772-6270 or 1-800-772-1213.
- Paper. Verify up to 300 names and numbers by submitting a paper request. For information, see Appendix A in the Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS) handbook at www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/ssnvshandbk/appendix.htm.
You must register online and receive authorization from your employer to use SSNVS or TNEV. To register, visit SSA's website at www.ssa.gov/employer
and click on the Business Services Online
link. Follow the registration instructions to obtain a user Identification (ID) and password. You will need to provide the following information about yourself and your company:
- Date of birth,
- Type of employer,
- Employer identification number (EIN),
- Company name, address, and telephone number and
- Email address.
When you have completed the online registration process, SSA will mail a one-time activation code to your employer. You must enter the activation code online to use SSNVS or TNEV.taxmap/pubs/p80-003.htm#en_us_publink1000233938
Record the name and number of each employee as they appear on his or her social security card. If the name is not correct as shown on the card (for example, because of marriage or divorce), the employee should request a corrected card from the SSA. Continue to use the old name until the employee shows you the replacement social security card with the corrected name.
If SSA issues the employee a replacement card after a name change, or a new card with a different social security number after a change in alien work status, file a Form W-2c to correct the name/SSN reported on the most recently filed Form W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, or Form W-2VI. It is not necessary to correct other years if the previous name and SSN were used for years before the most recent Form W-2.