Learn How to Print W2 in Quickbooks Online and Desktop

When you are running a business and there are a number of employees are working for you then you need to issue W2 tax forms for those employees to whom you pay more than $600 per year. These W-2 forms are used for reporting wages of the employees to the Federal Tax agencies or IRS(Internal Revenue Service). In this post, we’ll teach you how to print W2 in QuickBooks Online and Desktop.

There are some guidelines from the IRS that need to be strictly followed while printing the W-2 from QuickBooks. So let’s start without delaying any further.

How to Print W2 in QuickBooks Online

Inbuilt feature to print a W2 tax form is only available in the Enhanced Payroll version or in the Basic version which is subscribed before April 2013.

IRS W2 Forms Printing Requirements for QuickBooks Online

NOTE: Remember preprinted W2 forms are not compatible with QuickBooks Online.

Set up Preference for W-2 Tax Form in QuickBooks Online Payroll

Before proceeding you need to select the paper you’ll be using to print W2 in company payroll preferences.

  • Go to ‘Settings’ and then ‘Payroll Settings’.
  • In ‘Preference’ select the appropriate W2 printing option.

View and Print W2 from QuickBooks Online

  • Open QuickBooks Online, then go to ‘Taxes’ and after that select ‘Payroll Tax’.
  • Select the ‘Annual Forms’ in the Forms section.
  • Next, you can select a specific employee or all employees by ticking the box next to the employees.
  • Now select W2 B, C and 2.(W2 copy A will be filed only electronically so you don’t need to print them.)
  • Finally, select View and form will open in your computer’s PDF Reader (commonly Adobe Reader).
  • Then, Go to ‘File’ and print W2s forms.

W2 Copy B is for the Federal/IRS tax return filing and W2 Copy 2 is for the state or local agencies. W2 Copy C is kept by the employee for records.

How to Print W2 in QuickBooks Desktop

Printing W2 forms in QuickBooks Desktop is not as simple as it was in the QBO. You need to carefully pay attention to every step if you want to learn how to print W2 in QuickBooks Desktop for employees perfectly. In addition to W-2 form QuickBooks also process W3 forms which act as a summary of the W2 tax form.

IRS W2 Forms Printing Requirement for QuickBooks Desktop

  • An updated version of QuickBooks Desktop.
  • You need the preprinted W2 forms or 3-up Perforated/Blank printable forms for employees if you are using QuickBooks Standard Payroll or Enhanced Payroll.
  • But if you are using QuickBooks Assisted Payroll then you need to print W2 on 4-up perforated forms.
  • The updated Payroll Tax Table.

NOTE: QuickBooks Desktop is not compatible with the W2 PDF forms that are available from the IRS website.

So without delaying any more let us start printing W2 from QuickBooks Desktop.

Open W2 Forms in QuickBooks Desktop

How to Print W2 in QuickBooks
How to Print W2 in QuickBooks Desktop
  • From the top Menu bar select ‘Employees’.
  • Then in the drop-down menu select ‘Payroll Tax forms & W2s’<’Process Payroll Forms’.
  • In the next window open the ‘File Forms’ tab. Then in the list find Annual Form W-2/W-3- Wage and Tax Statement/Transmittal and click on ‘Create Form’.
How to print W2 in QuickBooks
View and Print W2 Form in QuickBooks Desktop
  • Sometimes you might not able to find the form on the list. The first reason could be that the form is present at the bottom of the list so you need to scroll down to the bottom. The second reason could be that the form is inactive. Click on the Forms drop-down menu and select ‘Make a New Form Active’.
  • You can select employees in batch or all employees at once if want to print W2 forms for all.
  • Enter the year of printing form in the ‘Select Filling Period’ field. Remember QuickBooks Desktop can only store one version of W2 tax form at a time that means you once you receive a 2018 version of forms then you may not be able to print 2017 form in QuickBooks Desktop. 
  • Next, you have to select the employee for whom you are printing a W2 form. You can select all the employees at once by tick marking the box. If you haven’t reviewed the W2 forms of all employees than you can see an uncheck mark on the review box. Here you can review and edit the form and then click on ‘Submit form’.

Select Paper type to Print W-2 and W-3 Forms

In this window, you have to choose which type of paper you are using to print W2 forms and the option under ‘For Employee’ will depend on it. You can only print one item at a time but the window will remain open until you close it so you can print other items as well. 

How to Print W2 in Quickbooks
Print W2 and W3 forms in QuickBooks Desktop
  • After reviewing and submitting the form a new window will pop-up ‘Print W2 and W3 Forms’.
  • In the Select paper, choose anyone between Blank/Perforated Paper or Preprinted Form.
  • Now in the second section ‘Select item to Print’ we’ve three options.

For Employees

  • If you’ll be using a Blank/Perforated Paper.

W2 Forms: Select one from 3 per page or 4 per page.

Select the Employee Filing instructions if not preprinted on the paper.

  • For Preprinted Forms

W2 Copy B: This will be used for Federal tax return or IRS filing.

W2 Copy 2: For filing in State and Local Tax department

W2 Copy C: Employees can keep this copy for record.

Select the Employee filing instructions if not preprinted on the form.

For Employer

W2 Copy D: For Employer’s record (1 per page for 1 employee)

Employer filing instructions for W2 and W3 forms.

For Government

W3: 1 per page

W2 Copy A: For SSA(Social Security Administration)

W2 Copy 1: For State and Local tax department.

Print W2 and W3 Forms from PDF Reader

If you are using a Preprinted Form then you may have to make some changes in the Form alignment. For this click on the ‘Align’ button after that, you can review your form by clicking on the ‘Print Test’. You can also save these settings for the future.

But if you are using the Blank/Perforated Paper then you don’t need to do that.

NOTE: The Government prefers W2 forms to be printed on the perforated paper.

  • After finalizing the printing settings click on the ‘Print PDF’ option. This will export your form to the PDF reader.
  • To print, open form in PDF reader then click on the ‘File’ and then ‘Print’.

How to Reprint W2 in QuickBooks

In QuickBooks, you can also reprint a lost W2 form. If any employee has lost their W2 form by mistake then you can reprint the form within the W2 tax terms and Internal Revenue Service guidelines.

Follow the below steps to reprint a QuickBooks W2 form.

How to print W2 in QuickBooks
Reprint W2 Form in QuickBooks
  • From the top menu bar select the employees and then click on the ‘Payroll Centre’.
  • Select the ‘Annual Form’.
  • From the drop-down menu select the employee for whom you want to reprint W2 form and then click on the ‘W2 Copy B, C, 2’.
  • Enter the desired year and select ‘View Reprint’. Internal Revenue Service requires the words ‘Reissued statement’ if the form is reprinting.
  • By clicking view report the W2 form will open in a new window in PDF format and after that click on ‘continue’.
  • You can either use a Blank/Perforated paper or simple plain paper to reprint W2 form.
  • To print, go to the File menu and then click on the ‘Print’ option.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to archive and view W2 forms after e-filing?

In the Payroll Tax Form tick the box saying ‘Automatically create an archive when I e-file or Print’. To view archived W2 form go to Employees<Payroll Tax Forms and W2<Payroll Process Forms. You can see your saved form in the Filling history section.

Can I print W2 on plain paper?

For printing W2 forms we suggest you use IRS approved Blank/Perforated paper.


We hope that now you’ve learned how to print W2 in QuickBooks Online and Desktop. Preparing, e-filing or printing W2 forms or any other federal tax-related forms like 1099 forms or W4 forms could be a very difficult task to accomplish. Therefore, Our QuickBooks ProAdvisor can provide any assistance you need related to QuickBooks or accounting services. This is our 24/7 QuickBooks customer support number +1-855-441-4417. You can call us any time according to your convenience for more information.

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