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Department of Taxation and Finance

Publication 911: Electronic reporting of quarterly wage and withholding tax information based on federal formats

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This publication, which supersedes the 11/11 version, describes specifications, formats, and layouts for reporting quarterly employee wage reporting and withholding tax information using the Tax Department’s Online Services). Employers/payers must report wage and withholding information using the specifications in this publication.

This format is based on the specifications contained in federal Publication, Specifications for Filing Forms W-2 Electronically (EFW2) (Social Security Administration Publication No. 42-007). Employers may use the RS (state) records from the federal EFW2, provided the information is reported according to the definitions for the individual data elements contained in this publication.

Please consult Publication EFW2 if you need additional technical information related to the federal format.

While some information on wage reporting and withholding is included in this publication, specific definitions and requirements are in Publication NYS-50, Employer's Guide to Unemployment Insurance, Wage Reporting, and Withholding Tax.

If you have questions regarding technical specifications, call 518-457-7105.

Compatibility

Formats previously submitted and successfully processed can continue to be submitted without change.

Filing requirements

New York State requires employers to electronically file their quarterly wage reporting and withholding tax information. Wage reporting upload is one option available to electronically file your information using the Tax Department’s Online Services. Using this option limits the potential for data entry errors, simplifies filing for the employer and streamlines processing.

Effective January 1, 2019 employers/payers must report total UI remuneration, gross federal wages or distribution subject to withholding, and total New York State, New York City and Yonkers tax withheld each calendar quarter for each employee/payee paid during the quarter you are reporting for.

Note: The amounts you report are only the amounts paid or withheld within the quarter you are reporting.

For tax years 2018 and prior, employers/payers must report total UI Remuneration paid to each employee each calendar quarter.  On the fourth quarter return (or the return covering the period in which an employer permanently ceases to pay wages), employers/payers must also report the cumulative total of gross federal wages or distribution subject to withholding and total New York State, New York City and Yonkers tax withheld.

The Tax Department will not accept amended information using federal specifications. Amended information must be submitted on either Form NYS-45-X or Form NYS-45-ATT according to the instructions, or via the upload according to the specifications described in Publication 69, Electronic reporting of quarterly combined wage and withholding tax information.

Record retention

Employers/payers must retain a copy of the uploaded files, or be able to reconstruct the data, for at least four years after the due date of the report.

Penalties

Failing to electronically file your quarterly wage reporting and withholding tax information may subject the employer/payer to penalties and delays in processing.

Submission of test media

Employers, payers, and/or agents preparing reports for employers/payers, and filers electing to file via the upload, are required to submit a test file using the format specified in this publication. Tax regulations require the Tax Department to certify submissions are processible. Test submissions should be submitted in the same format that will be used to submit actual return information.

The department will notify the transmitter within 30 days of receiving the test submission if it has been successfully processed and certified.

The testing process reduces the potential for unprocessible file submissions. Unprocessible file submissions constitute a failure to file that may result in penalties.

Transmitters who plan on submitting information for more than a single employer must include at least two employers with at least 20 employee records for each of the included employers.

Submission requirements

Employers/payers submitting data via the upload must not send the same data on paper. Agents reporting for one or more employers/payers must advise those employers not to submit separate reports to the Tax Department. Only one file is permitted.

The due dates for the employee wage reporting and withholding data are:

Quarterly due dates
Quarter Due date*
January 1 to March 31 April 30
April 1 to June 30      July 31
July 1 to September 30 October 31
October 1 to December 31 January 31

* When the actual due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, New York State Tax Law permits you to file on the next business day.

Technical specifications

All data records must have a fixed length of 512 bytes. Deviations from the prescribed format are not acceptable.

Multi-volume media are not acceptable. Data can be compressed and/or zipped as needed. A properly composed file begins with a Code RA record and ends with a Code RF record.

Transmitters for multiple employers must use consolidated files, rather than a separate file for each employer or client of the transmitter. Submissions that include multiple employers must be sorted in ascending EIN order.

Print files are not acceptable.

Data must be recorded in uppercase letters only.

A properly composed file contains the following records in sequence.

  • Record RA, Transmitter record
  • Record RE, Employer/payer record
  • Record RS (36), State employee/payee records
  • Record RU, Total record
  • Record RF, Final record (occurs only once after all employer/payer records)

Repeat records RE and RU for each employer in the file.

Note: only RS records containing a value of 36 in the State Code field (locations 3 and 4) will be processed for New York State purposes.

The employer identifying number in New York State is primarily the federal EIN with two exceptions:

  • temporary nine-character numbers beginning with TF are used until the federal EIN is assigned; and
  • decentralized employers may apply for a location suffix to their federal EIN.

Beginning with tax year 2019, if the employee/payee does not have any gross wages covered by unemployment insurance in New York State, gross federal wages or distribution subject to withholding and New York State, New York City and Yonkers tax withheld in the calendar quarter you are reporting the employee/payee should not be reported.

If the employee/payee did not have any gross wages covered by unemployment insurance or if the employee is not covered by unemployment insurance in New York State in the quarter you are reporting, the UI remuneration paid this quarter field should be zero filled. However, if the employee/payee had gross federal wages or distribution subject to withholding and New York State, New York City and Yonkers tax withheld in that quarter you are required to report those amounts for each employee/payee paid during the quarter.

For tax year 2018 and prior, if the employee/payee does not have any gross wages covered by unemployment insurance in New York State during quarters one, two, or three, then that employee/payee should not be reported for those quarters. The fourth quarter submission requires reporting of the total gross federal wages or  distribution subject to withholding and total New York State, New York City and Yonkers tax withheld for all employees/payees for all quarters during the year. If the employee/payee did not have any gross wages covered by unemployment insurance in the fourth quarter, or if the employee is not covered by unemployment insurance in New  York State, the UI remuneration paid this quarter field should be zero-filled. 

Employers who are liable under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) must include a separate employee record for any employee receiving payments of severance pay and the first six months of sick pay. This additional employee record must be identified by entering a letter O for other types of wages at position 243 of the RS record. Specific details related to these types of other wages are available in Publication NYS-50.

All gross federal wages subject to withholding and total New York State, New York City and Yonkers tax withheld must be reported in the RS employee record containing regular wages (that is, with the letter W in position 243).

  • All money fields are strictly numeric.
  • Include dollars and cents with the decimal point assumed. Do not use any punctuation in any field.
  • Right-justify and zero-fill all money fields.
  • In a money field that is not applicable, enter zeros.
  • Negative money amounts are not acceptable.
  • High-order signed fields are not acceptable.
  • In general, state quarterly UI remuneration must include wages that are subject to Article 18 of the Labor Law. These wages are the basis for claims for unemployment insurance benefits in New York State.
  • In general, gross federal wages subject to withholding is the amount of wages that are subject to withholding tax.
  • Total tax withheld is the sum of taxes withheld for New York State, New York City, and the city of Yonkers.
  • Left-justify the name, in uppercase only, and list the first name first. Separate all segments of the name, including each initial, by blanks.
  • Connect parts of a compound surname by a hyphen.
  • Do not use a blank to separate single letter prefixes (such as O or D) from the rest of the surname; they may be separated by an apostrophe or be contiguous with the rest of the name.
  • Do not use commas to separate names.
  • Connect last name suffixes (such as Jr, Sr, or MD) to the last name with a hyphen.

For information regarding content of any of the fields, refer to Publication NYS-50.

Record name: Code RA, Submitter record

Field

Location

Length

Comment

Record identifier 1-2 2 Constant RA
Submitter’s employer identification number (EIN) 3-13 11 Transmitter's federal EIN or NYS tax identification number; left-justify and fill with blanks; no hyphens or spaces in number
Blank 14-216 203
Submitter name 217-273 57 Organization transmitting the file; left-justify and fill with blanks
Location address 274-295 22
Delivery address 296-317 22 Street address of transmitter; left justify and fill with blanks
City 318-339 22 Left justify and fill with blanks
State abbreviation 340-341 2 Use standard FIPS postal abbreviation
ZIP code 342-346 5 Left justify and fill with blanks
Blank 347-395 49
Contact name 396-422 27
Contact phone number 423-437 15
Contact phone extension 438-442 5
Blank 443-445 3
Contact email/Internet address 446-485 40
Blank 486-488 3
Contact fax number 489-512 24

Record name: Code RE, Employer record
Field Location Length Comment
Record identifier 1-2 2 Constant RE
Blank 3-7 5
Employer identification number (EIN) 8-18 11 Employer's federal EIN or NYS tax identification number; left-justify and fill with blanks; no hyphens or spaces in number
Blank 19-39 21
Employer name 40-118 79 Left-justify and fill with blanks
Delivery address 119-140 22 Street address of employer; left justify and fill with blanks
City 141-162 22 Left-justify and fill with blanks
State abbreviation 163-164 2 Use standard FIPS postal abbreviation
ZIP code 165-169 5 Left-justify and fill with blanks
ZIP code extension 170-173 4
Quarter and year being reported 174-178 5 Format should be QYYYY with Q values of 1, 2, 3, 4, and YYYY values being the tax year. Update each quarter.
Blank 179-512 334

Record name: RS, Employee record
Field Location Length Comment
Record identifier 1-2 2 Constant RS
State code 3-4 2 Constant 36
Blank 5-9 5
Social Security number (SSN) 10-18 9 Omit hyphens
Employee first name 19-33 15 Left-justify and fill with blanks
Employee middle initial 34-48 15 Left-justify and fill with blanks
Employee last name 49-68 20 Left-justify and fill with blanks
Suffix 69-72 4 Left-justify and fill with blanks
Blank 73-202 130
State quarterly UI remuneration 203-213 11 Wages subject to UI in New York State; right justify, zero fill, dollars and cents, implied decimal
Blank 214-242 29
Wage type 243 1 Wages type identifier. Applies only to quarterly wages. Enter letter W for regular wages and letter O for other wages (see NYS-50 for more information)
Blank 244-275 32
Gross federal wages or distribution subject to withholding 276-286 11 Wages, tips, and other compensation subject to New York State withholding tax; right justify, zero fill, dollars and cents, implied decimal
Total NYS, NYC & Yonkers tax withheld 287-297 11 NYS, NYC and Yonkers income tax withheld (lump sum); right justify, zero fill, dollars and cents, implied decimal
Blank 298-512 215

Record name: Code RU, Total record
Field Location Length Comment
Record identifier 1-2 2 Constant RU
Number of RS records 3-9 7 Enter the total number of RS records for this employer, right-justify and zero-fill
Blank 10-512 503

Record name: Code RF, Final record
Location Field Length Description and remarks
Record identifier 1-2 2 Constant RF. This record is only included to indicate end of file
Blank 3-512 510
Updated: