There’s an important new deadline that all employers need to take note of: January 31st. That’s the new deadline for sending all wage statements and independent contractor forms to the Social Security Administration and the IRS.

In the past, wage statement and independent contractor forms only needed to be sent to employees by January 31st. If employers didn’t sent these documents to the government by that date, they were granted an automatic extension to send the documents. But now, because of the PATH Act, these forms must also be sent to the government by the end of January.

In any future years that January 31st falls on a weekend, employers will have until the following Monday to send their documents to the government. But for the 2018 tax season, January 31st falls on a Wednesday so make sure your documents are sent promptly this year.

Wage statements and independent contractor forms that must be sent by this new deadline include W-2 forms, W-3 forms, and 1099-MISC forms for independent contractor employees. W-2 forms must be sent to the Social Security Administration and 1099-MISC forms must be sent to the IRS. W-3 forms do not need to be included with W-2 forms for online filings but do need to be included for any by mail filing. If W-3 forms are not included with mailed W-2 forms, employers may have to pay a penalty.

This new tax deadline was included in the PATH Act (the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act) to help prevent tax fraud. This deadline gives the IRS more time to verify tax information and prevent any fraudulent tax claims.

Possible Extensions Under the New Law

While in the past, extensions were granted automatically, now extensions will only be granted under a few very limited circumstances. According to the IRS, extensions will only be made for those in “extraordinary circumstances or catastrophe.” This can include businesses affected by catastrophic events in a Presidentially Declared Disaster Area, death or serious illness of the person responsible for filing, unavoidable absence of the person responsible for filing, and fires or other natural disasters. Extensions may also be potentially granted to businesses that were in their first year of operation for the tax year.

If you do qualify for an extension because of one of these circumstances, you can file an extension application with Form 8809. The extension application, however, must still be received by January 31st.

The New Deadline and Filing Your Documents On Time

If you were an employer in 2017, it’s critically important that you meet the new filing deadline. It’s an employer’s sole responsibility to stay on top of their tax documents and meet deadlines. If the new deadlines for filing wage statements with the IRS are not met, businesses can face fines and penalties.

If you’re an employer and you want to stay on top of all the new tax laws this year, Vanguard Tax Relief’s tax experts can help. Our tax professionals can make sure you send all your required forms, in a timely manner and to the correct government organizations. Don’t risk getting into trouble with the government— contact us before the end of January to get help from an expert and make sure all your tax documents are filed perfectly.