The IRS is reminding employers and small businesses that there is an earlier deadline than in the past. Previously, employers typically had until the end of February if filing on paper and to the end of March if filing electronically.
The earlier date also applies to 1099s for independent contractors. A 30-day extension can be requested for Form W-2s. A Form 8809, Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns, must be completed as soon as the employer knows an extension is necessary, but by Jan. 31 at the latest. See the instructions for Form 8809 for more detail.
The January deadline has long applied to employers furnishing copies to employees and remains unchanged.
The earlier deadline is part of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (Path) Act enacted last December to make it easier for the IRS to detect and prevent Fraud.