Electronic W-2 and 1099 Filing Guidelines
- Electronic Filing Overview
- Web Upload - Overview
- eForms - Overview
- Electronic Waiver Information
You are required to file W-2 statements with the Virginia Department of Taxation (Department) when the forms reflect Virginia income tax withheld. There are two options to file W-2 statements electronically: Web Upload and eForms.
Web Upload is a free online filing system, which currently accepts your W-2 and 1099 data files electronically. Multiple types of W-2 files are accepted, such as text or spreadsheet files. You can upload your file(s) online and receive immediate validation/feedback on your data.
eForms is a free method to file electronically. Simply fill in your information in the provided fields (no file required) and submit it electronically to the Department, all without signing up.
Consider these options when filing your data:
|Does this situation apply to you?||Recommended System||Resources to Start|
Using text files or spreadsheet files (W-2s or 1099s)
NOTE: These files are often created using software.
|Web Upload||Web Upload Overview|
|Prefer to file 1099 data electronically (text files only)||Web Upload||Web Upload Overview|
|Not using files or filing for a small number of employees (W-2s only)||eForms||eForms W-2 Overview|
|Prefer to enter W-2 data manually||eForms||eForms W-2 Overview|
- Beginning in 2015, the new due date of Form VA-6 / Form VA-6H and supporting statements (W-2s and 1099s) is January 31.
- Employers must file their W-2 statements electronically via Web Upload or eForms.
- The electronic mandate does not apply to 1099 data. Electronic filing is still encouraged.
- PDF versions or files with images of any W-2/1099 data are not accepted.
- Magnetic Media (CDs/Diskettes) of any W-2/1099 data are not accepted.
Every employer must file the Annual or Final Summary of Virginia Income Tax Withheld Return to the Department as well as all federal income (wage) statements from the W-2 series or the 1099 series that reflect Virginia income tax withheld.
- Form VA-6 / Form VA-6H (with supporting statements) is due on January 31, and must be filed electronically.
- If you close your withholding account before the end of the year, you must file Form VA-6 or VA-6H within 30 days of the last month in which you paid wages.
- The federal forms usually required are W-2 and W-2G statements, and Form 1099-R.
- Web Upload currently accepts W-2 statements, Form 1099-R and Form 1099-MISC.
- eForms currently only accepts W-2 statements.
Options for electronically filing Annual/Final Reconciliations
Web Upload is a file-based system. This means the W-2 and the 1099 data you submit must be on a file that matches the formats and layouts described later on this web page, whether a text file or a spreadsheet. This section will explain:
- How to use Web Upload to file your W-2 and 1099 data.
- Which type of file to use.
- How to format each type of file.
If additional information or assistance is needed, please send an email to: WebUpload@tax.virginia.gov.
New users must first complete the simple registration for the Web Upload system. You will receive an email to confirm your registration; you must click on the link in the email to activate your Web Upload account.
Once you log in, it is an easy three-step process to file your W-2 and 1099 information:
- Choose and create your file layout
- Upload your file
- Submit your uploaded file
NOTE: You also have the option of using the shortcut section displayed after logging into Web Upload. Look for the Sending W-2s or 1099s to TAX? section visible on the Web Upload homepage after you log into the system.
Details for using the Web Upload system can be found on the Informational page and Guide. The Web Upload FAQs page contains frequently asked questions that include information about sending W-2 and 1099 data online.
If you have questions about correcting or amending W-2 or 1099 Web Upload data, please email the Web Upload Unit at WebUpload@tax.virginia.gov so they may contact you. Please provide your name and phone number(s). Do not include account information in your email.
Naming Web Upload Files
It is not required, but it is highly recommended to name your W-2 files and 1099 files as listed below. Including the tax year within the file name may help easily identify your data.
The name of your file will also appear in your Web Upload confirmation emails. If you plan to submit multiple files in the same day, it may help if you make the files names unique enough to track them later.
- For the W-2 files, use “W2 REPORT”
- For the 1099-R files, use “1099R REPORT”
- For the 1099-MISC files, use "1099MISC REPORT"
It is not required, but you may compress/zip the file(s) you submit through Web Upload. If you do this, you must mark the “Compressed (Zipped)” check box when you upload your file. Otherwise, an error message will appear and you will need to attempt the upload again with the box checked.
File Validations and Error Messages
Web Upload will validate and provide immediate feedback when you upload your file. One of two scenarios will occur: validation totals or error messages.
If there are no errors: validation totals will display summarizing the number of statements and amount of Virginia withholding in your file. This means your file is formatted properly and contains the required information.
You must: verify that the totals displayed match your records and then submit your file.
- If there are errors: message(s) will display with instructions and line numbers indicating the specific records in your file that contain the error(s). This means your file has been rejected.
You must: correct the errors, upload again, confirm the totals match your records and then submit your file.
- Validation errors include: field required, field cannot be blank, incorrect length, invalid information (year, amount, type, etc.) and incorrect formatting.
- If the record containing Employer Information (main W-2 record) or Payer Information (the main 1099 record) has an error, Web Upload will not review the associated Employee or Payee records until that error is corrected. The error message will advise this too.
Confirmation of the Submitted File
After you submit your file, you will receive a confirmation email once Web Upload processes your file. It will be sent to the email address indicated on the profile created during your Web Upload registration. Ensure that you have the correct email address on your profile.
For example – if you submit a W-2 file and a VA-6 file, you will receive a separate confirmation email for each file submitted. (There can only be one form type in each file.) The confirmation email will reference what type of data was sent in the file.
Your W-2 data and your 1099 data must be in a file to be submitted electronically through the Web Upload system. The most common file type used is a text file. This is the same type of file used to send your data to the federal level. This is also the most common file type prepared by companies and software packages. Web Upload accepts text files for both the W-2 data and the 1099 data. The other file type accepted (and only for W-2 data) is a spreadsheet file set up by the Department (such as an Excel spreadsheet).
W-2 Text Files
W-2 data may be sent as a text file through Web Upload. The Department bases their accepted W-2 text file layout on the Social Security Administration (SSA) specifications listed below. Review our W-2 Text layout section.
- The Social Security Administration (SSA) Specification for Filing Forms W-2 Electronically is commonly known as EFW2.
- You can request a copy of the EFW2 requirements by accessing the SSA website or by calling the SSA at 1 (800) 772-6270.
W-2 Spreadsheet Files
Web Upload has another option for customers who are unable to submit their W-2s in a text file according to the EFW2 format set by the SSA. This substitute version of W-2 data is accepted in a specially formatted spreadsheet file and it is open for anyone access to a spreadsheet editor.
- This file type and layout apply only to W-2 data accepted by the Virginia Department of Taxation.
- Review our W-2 Excel layout section.
1099 data can only be sent as a text file through Web Upload. The Department bases their accepted 1099 file layouts on the IRS specifications listed below. Review our 1099 Layouts section.
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Specifications for Filing Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8935 and W-2G Electronically is commonly known as Publication 1220.
- You can request a copy of the Publication 1220 by accessing the IRS website or by calling the IRS at 1 (800) 829-3676.
Text Files and Record Delimiters
Web Upload accepts text files with or without record delimiters. (This does not apply to spreadsheet files.)
If you use record delimiters (a sequential file), a record delimiter must follow each record in the file except for the last record. The record delimiter must consist of two characters: a carriage return and a line-feed (CR/LF). Line-feed is ASCII character 10 (0A HEX) and carriage-return is ASCII character 13 (0D HEX). Windows programs, like Notepad, automatically insert carriage-return line-feeds when you press the Enter key at the end of the line. If using UNIX, manually insert the proper characters as UNIX does not automatically insert carriage return characters.
W-2 Text Files: Each record is 512 characters. The carriage return and the line-feed characters must be placed in positions 513 and 514, respectively.
1099 Text Files: Each record is 750 characters. The carriage return and the line-feed characters must be placed in positions 751 and 752, respectively.
- place a record delimiter before the first record,
- place more than one record delimiter (i.e. more than one carriage return / line-feed combination) following a record, or
- place record delimiters after a field within a record.
Web Upload supports text files based on the EFW2 format, which is maintained by the SSA. There must be a row that contains information just for the Employer (RE) and one (or many) row(s) that contains information for the Employees (RS). Other records specified in the EFW2 format may be included in your text file, but those records will not be used or validated. A copy of the EFW2 requirements can be accessed at the SSA website.
The SSA does not require the “RS” (Employee State) record, but the Virginia Department of Taxation does.
- If you created an “RS” record for your federal submission, the Department will accept this.
- If not, you must create an “RS” record for each employee reported.
NOTE: The state code for Virginia (51) must be on each “RS” record to indicate Virginia income tax withheld.
Each W-2 data record must be 512 bytes. This is the same format that is submitted to the SSA. The Employer Record begins with "RE” followed by the tax year.
W-2 Layout (EFW2 text format)
- RE Record – Employer Record – Length = 512
- RS Record – Employee State Record – Length = 512
Customers who want to send the substitute W-2 spreadsheet file, as specified and required by the Department, must follow the layout and format described below. As with any W-2 file, there is one row that contains the information for just the Employer and one (or many) row(s) that contains information for the Employee(s).
W-2 Layout (spreadsheet format)
- Tax Year, Employer FEIN and Employer Name
Employee SSN, Employee First Name, Employee Last Name, Address, City, State (abbreviation), Zip Code, Virginia Wages and Virginia Withholding
NOTE: If City, State or Zip Code are unknown for the Employee, leave the field blank.
- Employee SSN, Employee First Name, Employee Last Name, Address, City, State (abbreviation), Zip Code, Virginia Wages and Virginia Withholding
- Employer Record
Only records containing Virginia wages and withholding may be included in the spreadsheet. All data in the spreadsheet is assumed to be for Virginia wages and withholding.
To save time and ensure correct formatting while creating your substitute W-2 file, you may access and save a copy of our W-2 Excel sample when you log into Web Upload. It is located in the Sending W-2s or 1099s to TAX? section of the Web Upload homepage.
- Only the Tax Year, Employer FEIN and Employer Name should be completed for the Employer information.
- Do not provide Employer Address information in the Employer information or it will cause errors in your file.
- Do not submit 1099 data in the spreadsheet. Your 1099 data will instead be treated as W-2 information because of the spreadsheet layout.
You are only required to file Form 1099 series with the Department if the forms show Virginia income tax withheld. The mandate to file electronically does not apply to the Form 1099 series.
Web Upload supports Form 1099-R and Form 1099-MISC. Web Upload only supports 1099 data that is formatted in a text file based on Publication 1220, which is maintained by the IRS. Form 1099-R data and Form 1099-MISC data must be submitted in separate text files. Any other forms in the 1099 series should be mailed in on paper along with the Form VA-W.
This section will provide details for the:
- 1099-R File Layout
- 1099-MISC File Layout
- 1099 Combined Federal / State Filing Program
Forms 1099 Layouts and Required Records
The following data records are required for 1099-R data and 1099-MISC data. Other records specified in Publication 1220 may be included in your text file, but those records will not be used or validated. A copy of the Publication 1220 can be accessed at the IRS website.
NOTE: The state code for Virginia (51) must be on each 1099 Payee B record (positions 747-748) to indicate Virginia income tax withheld.
Each 1099-R data record must be 750 bytes. This is the same format that is submitted to the IRS. The Payer Record begins with "A" followed by the tax year.
1099-R Layout (text format)
- PAYER “A” – Employer Record – Length = 750
- PAYEE “B” – Employee Record – Length = 750
Each 1099-MISC data record must be 750 bytes. This is the same format that is submitted to the IRS. The Payer Record begins with "A" followed by the tax year.
1099-MISC Layout (text format)
- PAYER "A" - Employer Record – Length = 750
- PAYER "B" - Employee Record – Length = 750
If you participate in the Combined Federal / State Filing Program (CF/SF) for Form 1099-R and/or Form 1099-MISC, you do not need to file the forms/data with the Virginia Tax Department. This program does not include W-2 statements; you must still submit W-2 information separately.
- By January 15 of each year, you must notify the Department in writing of your intent to participate in the program. This must be done each year you participate.
- See the federal Publication 1220 for information on how to participate. Then mail your intent to participate to:
Virginia Department of Taxation
1099 Combined Fed/State Processing
PO Box 1278
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1278
Virginia's eForms system is a free and secure method to file electronically. You simply fill in your information and submit it electronically to the Department. eForms allow you to easily file directly from your web browser, all without signing up.
The benefits of using eForms includes:
- Free, secure and available 24/7
- No sign-up required
- Manually enter data, no file is required
- Immediate confirmation
- Save and/or print a summary of your W-2 information as an Adobe PDF (image document)
Before using eForms to key in W-2 wage statement data, you are required to authenticate the business for which you are filing. There are two ways to do this and access the W-2 eForm:
The W-2 eForm does not require a separate sign-up. Instead, you are required to authenticate the business by providing the following information:
- The Tax Year for which you are filing,
- The Employer FEIN, and
- The total amount of withholding tax paid to the Virginia Department of Taxation during the filing year.
NOTE: The total amount of withholding paid to the Department is the sum of all payments made in the taxable year, only from VA-5 or VA-15 amounts. If you paid penalty or interest, include the entire amount that was paid.
If you are unsure of the total Virginia withholding tax paid or have other W-2 eForms questions (ex. amending/correcting data), please Contact Us for further assistance.
Business iFile Account
Logging in through a Business iFile account will address the authentication required to use the W-2 eForms. There are two ways to access the W-2 eForm, when logged into Business iFile.
- Click "File / Pay Taxes" and select the eForms option.
- Select the eForms option from the VA-6 (or VA-6H) confirmation page.
NOTE: Business iFile provides links to the eForms system and to the Web Upload system, so customers can file wage statements according to their needs.
Once authentication is complete, you will be able to manually enter the W-2 data onto the eForms screens. Regardless of your authentication method, the same screens are displayed for your to key in the W-2 data.
To see a preview of these screens, click the W-2 eForm Layouts.
Also, please remember these details:
- The FEIN may not be changed.
- Confirm the correct tax year is displayed for the W-2 data.
For additional information on using the eForms system, see the eForms FAQs page.
The Tax Commissioner has the authority to waive the requirement to file electronically should this cause undue hardship for the employer. Requests for waiver must be submitted in writing, by completing the Employer Withholding Electronic Filing Waiver Request form.
Fax the request to (804) 367-3015 or mail to:
Virginia Department of Taxation Hardship Waiver Request
PO Box 27423
Richmond, VA 23261-7423
Last Updated 11/18/2014 15:23