Why do companies take so long for W-2s?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by John_Berger, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    The subject says it all.

    Every year I get totally frustrated by those companies who seem to intentionally wait until the very end of January to send out their W2s and 1099s.

    (For those not in the U.S., a W2 is the statement that is sent by employers with salary and tax information for the previous year. These are required to file federal, state, and local tas returns. 1099s are a one-line summary of interest that is paid, such as tax-deductible interest on mortgages.)

    I know, it's only January 11, but this is something that just aggravates the hell out of me every year. I'm sure it will aggravate me this year even more because I have to wait for no less than a combination of nine W2s and 1099s.

    From a technical perspective there is no reason why companies that have fully computerized financial systems can't start processing their W2s immediately after the last paycheck of the previous year. Even my wife who is studying to be a CPA confirmed that there is no reason for delay, especially once January 1 hits. (EDIT: with the exception of end-of-year closing, which must be finished first.) Yet so many companies seem to wait until the end of January to bother with it. Since W2s are nothing more than a summary of salary paid and taxes removed, it's not like there is interest being gained into the company's coffers by delaying.

    Even with the 1099s some companies wait until the last minute to mail them out.

    Obviously, tax returns (and therefore refunds) cannot be submitted and claimed until all of the W2s and 1099s are received. This is even more annoying for those of us who file electronically because we don't even need the paper that the W2s and 1099s are printed on! They don't get sent in!

    For families like mine who make sure that a refund is always due, this "unnecessary" waiting until the end of the month is all-the-more infuriating. Sometimes my imagination runs away with me and I can see the financial managers (who just so happen to look like the boss in Dilbert) rubbing their hands, saying "Let's piss everyone off by waiting until the very last minute for no reason whatsoever other than just because we have the power to piss them off." [​IMG]

    Is there anyone here who by chance works in the financial department of a company that can explain this utterly annoying phenomenon?
     
  2. Alan Erceg

    Alan Erceg Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm In total agreement with you John. Really frustrating...
     
  3. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

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    Yup. And I don't know why, but I'm also annoyed by the people that think it's funny that they have not even looked at their taxes come early april. I send it out the day after I get it, but I guess most people are just lazy as hell.
     
  4. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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    I would think that any delay is due to the holidays that affect not only the employers but the US mail coupled with whatever other protocal, government or otherwise, that is necessary in generating the W2's. I usually expect to get it(or them depending on my employment situation) towards the middle of January. If February comes and I still don't have my W2 then I would be concerned.
     
  5. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    Hey, we're in the same club! I equate these people with those who find some kind of perverse thrill with shopping on Black Friday. In fact, they're probably the same people. [​IMG]
     
  6. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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    I'm waiting for mine still too. The day I get it I'll be online filing my taxes. Expecting a nice refund this year.
     
  7. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    That's kind of why I decided to ask this. I can just about guarantee that I will have to wait until February for something to come in. Last year, I had to wait until February 5th or so until I received the 1099 from my mortgage company. That is even more inexcusable because there is only ONE number of value on the 1099 - the total interst paid on the mortgage! That can be calculated with a single SQL query against a database, for crying out loud!
     
  8. Todd H

    Todd H Go Dawgs!

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    Count me as one of those people that mails off his tax return the day after he receives his W-2. Why wait?
     
  9. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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    Well, I would consider that rather late in the timeline of these things. Maybe the company that handles your paychecks is just slow? If you are that concerned about it I would inquire with your employer.
     
  10. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    Well, for one thing, bookkeepers still have ongoing duties that don't stop for W-2's. Doing W-2's is something they have to do in January on top of everything else they do every month.

    Otherwise, yeah, it's something they do at the last minute, because they can.
     
  11. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    Well, because I have to wait for my 1099 to show up, which is sometime in March. Can't do anything until then.

    But I agree, there's no reason these forms should take so long.
     
  12. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Yeah, you'd think that they are being filled out by hand! [​IMG]

    You guys don't really need your W-2's. All you need to do is to keep all of your stubs and add them all up. This would be especially true if you are doing this electronically.

    This would also be a good check to see if your figures agree with theirs. I can't imagine how many companies could 'fudge' their books on payroll. Not that anyone is working for a crooked company, but one crooked CPA does not a company make... or something like that.

    Glenn
     
  13. Leroy

    Leroy Second Unit

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    My employer waits until the last day to get them to us. It's really frustrating to have to wait. I'm going to try direct deposit this year to see if that shaves of a few days (I use Tele-file to file my taxes so it's already fairly quick).
     
  14. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I'd imagine that's it. They still have all their regular work to do, plus whatever year-end extras they have to do, plus the W-2's on top of that.

    In any case, the law says they have until Jan 31 to send them out. If you don't like it, write your congressman.

    And what's with the huge rush to get your refund? Is 2-3 weeks going to make a life-or-death difference?
     
  15. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    Since I always owe a little on taxes (which in my opinion is better than having too much withheld and getting a refund -- I don't get how a lot of people treat their refund like some kind of bonus that they've earned), it makes no difference when I get my W-2, I'm still waiting until April to pay.
     
  16. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    Gee, I can't imagine why someone would want their money back in their pocket. How foolish of me to even think that. [​IMG]

    It's totally the principle of the matter. There is no excuse for any company to keep people waiting just because it's not on thier priority list. It comes back to "customer service." Obviously, companies who do it by hand or outsource their payroll to companies like ADT (which has to take care of thousands of companies), a delay is understandable -- to a certain extent.

    But situations like what Leila described are inexcusable.
     
  17. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    For people like me, it's because I know that if I claimed enough deductions to not owe or be due, the extra money in my paycheck would be piddled away, probably on something meaningless. I know my weaknesses, and extra cash on hand is one of them, particularly when there is always a computer that can be upgraded. [​IMG] Yes, it's a 0% loan to the government, but at least I can plan for some more meaningful purchase/expenditure/debt-payoff every year because of this. I know very well that I would not have the discipline to invest the extra paycheck amount properly. This method is an acceptable compromise for me.

    And there more people than you think who do it for just this reason.
     
  18. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    If it's such an irritant to you, then reset your withholding so that the money remains in your pocket instead of being "loaned" to the government for a year.

    Otherwise, as I said, I don't see what difference 2-3 weeks makes.
     
  19. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    See post #17 please.
     
  20. James St

    James St Supporting Actor

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    Perhaps the few weeks are used to ensure all information is accurate. The bank I work for pays out adjusted time (overtime, etc) the pay period after you work it in. If I'm not mistaken this requires them to wait until mid January for the adjustments from the end of the year to be completed before they generate all W-2's.
     

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