Can I File a W-2 Form for a Deceased Employee?

Yes, you must take certain steps as an employer like filing a W-2 form for a deceased employee to compensate their estate for unpaid work time. Keep in mind that there is some nuance to the following steps. How you distribute employee wages for deceased individuals depends on your state’s regulations. Generally, you should:

Obtain proof of an employee’s death. Request an employee’s official death certificate before you remit payment for their final wages. Order copies from their mortuary. It should be available one-to-two weeks after the employee’s death.

Determine who receives the final wages. Confirm your state’s laws on whether final wages go to an employee’s estate or a family member. Contact the appointed representative of the estate when applicable.

Record and report any outstanding payments. Report any accrued wages, vacation pay, and additional compensation that your business paid that year after the date of death. Payments you made in the same year require employers to withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes. Do not report payments that you made after the year of death on Form W-2. Do not withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Factor in any tax considerations. End-of-year deaths may mean that you pay final wages the following year. Do not file Form W-2 in these cases, or withhold or pay employment taxes. File a 1099 form to report the final employee wages.

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