When Mark and I went to the IRS Forum to hear the updates from the IRS this year we learned that the W-2 Verification Program is being enlarged and enforced starting with the Tax Year 2017 filing season.
Roughly 1 in 3 W-2s issued for Tax Year 2017 is going to have a 16-character verification code in Box 9. These codes are an effort on the part of the IRS to make sure people do not file fake W-2s in order to fraudulently claim tax credits.
What does this mean for you?
It means that we cannot file a tax return unless you have a clear copy of your W-2.
In the Tax Year 2016 filing season we had a few issues, especially with faxed W-2s where we couldn’t read the verification code clearly. It didn’t matter until now because the IRS was not enforcing these codes. They would still process the return even if the code entered didn’t match.
Now that has all changed.
So while we can use your job records to draft a return, we cannot submit it until we have the clear, legible W-2 available.