W-2 Program Change for 2013 Reporting


NOTE: You only need to copy the necessary file once; regardless of how many companies you have for processing payroll, the same program files are used by all companies.



There are no changes to the printing of the W-2 forms, however, the SSA has made a change to the electronic file format (EFW2).


As part of the electronic file submission, there is an RA record which details the Submitter information, and there is also an RE record that details the Employer information. For all companies using this software, the Submitter and the Employer are one in the same. There has previously been contact information (name, phone, email address) as part of the Submitter record, this year the SSA has added contact information to the file format for the Employer record.


Since the users of this system are both the Submitter and the Employer, rather than make a significant update to the program to change the employer record, I have taken the approach of simply copying the contact information that already exists in the Submitter record and include it as part of the Employer record. So the only program change required is to the program that creates the EFW2 file.


EVERYONE should perform this update to be in compliance with the new reporting standards. Details on how to install the update are found below.

How to download

The trick is to download the file described below, and get it into the correct location on your server. To update your program we will not go through a formal install process through the Resource Manager. Instead, you will simply download a ZIP archive that contains the updated files from this web site, extract the files in place and replace the old files with the new ones. In order to be successful in your update, you must know exactly where your payroll programs are located.


The link below will prompt you to download and save the update file. But before you do that, you will need to know where your payroll directory progPA is located. On what drive is your payroll system located? What is the base subdirectory for your OSAS system? In recent years, with the new client/server version of OSAS, it is not easy to explain where to look. The good news is that most people already know where to look. In many cases, you use a mapped drive to be able to access the location on your server where OSAS resides. You may do this to retrieve direct deposit files, or other report files. So look for the location on your server where OSAS resides. The drive will most often have the OSAS folder in plain sight. The OSAS folder usually also includes a version number, so you may see folders like: OSAS7, OSAS752, or OSAS76. In fact, there may be more than one OSAS folder. This is common because when we do an upgrade, we often keep the old version still in place for a while. Look for the OSAS folder with the highest number that would be the live system, while the lower number is the old version. So go exploring through My Computer and find the live OSAS folder and the progPA folder underneath it.


So if your base location is O:\OSAS76, then you want to save your update to O:\OSAS76\PROGPA. If your base location is O:\OSAS752, then you want to save your update to O:\OSAS752\progPA.


Click on the link below to download the new update, and save it in your payroll subdirectory:


Click here to download the 2013 W2 program update.


Note: If you do not have access to your payroll system while you are on the internet, you may need to save this program update file on to a floppy disk. You may save this file on a floppy, and use Windows to copy the file into your payroll directory later.


By clicking on the link above, you should receive an option to SAVE or SAVE AS this file W2UP2013.zip. When you select to save the file, you should have a browse window where you can navigate to the desired location you have identified as your payroll folder and save it there. (If given a choice, use SAVE AS instead of SAVE in order to have a choice on where you save the file, otherwise, it will be saved to your downloads folder by default.)


Now go through My Computer, to the folder where you saved the update: select the drive location where your payroll system is located, select the base location, then select the folder PROGPA. When you are in this folder you will see dozens of files. Look for the file you just downloaded: W2UP2013.zip. The extension .zip may not show. The .zip file most often will have an icon that looks like a folder with a zipper on it. Once you have found the file, <Right-Click> on the file, and then select: Extract All. When you go through the wizard, you will need to edit the directory location the wizard provides. Remove the \W2UP2013 from the directory location. The location should end with progPA. You should say YES to overwrite the existing 1 file that is updated:




In fact, if it does not ask you to overwrite the existing file, you must not be in the right location. Your update should now be complete.

How to tell if it is updated

The easiest way to tell if your program has been updated is by going into the Create EFW2 (or MMREF1) Disk File function. In the new version, the title at the top of the screen will say: Create EFW2 Reporting File YYYY. The important tell that the update was correct is that you should see a line at the top of the screen that indicates:

Using 2013 EFW2 File Format


Note that while the menu still may say MMREF, the program title uses EFW2.


If you have any problems with your update, please give me a call.

Things to Think About

The SSA requires that PHONE numbers contain only digits 0-9. So when you are entering your contact information, do NOT include any spaces or special characters in the phone number: 6087816734.


If you use the AccuWage program (see below), the SSA has included a new alert warning message when you run a test. The alert warning is on the RE record that the Submitter EIN and the Employer EIN are matching. This is not a problem and this alert can be ignored (they should match).


You can download the complete specifications with details for each field of the records from:



Two states: IL and PA, have taken the unfortunate step of customizing the federal standard for electronic reporting that must be submitted to the state (most other states accept the standard SSA copy of the file). It is important to remember that when you are creating the EFW2 file and you are prompted for the STATE, when you are creating the file to submit to the SSA, you should always leave the state blank. A blank state always creates a file in the SSA standard format. If you must submit a file to either IL or PA, then you should create a separate file (rename the SSA copy) and specify the state ID. When the selected state is either IL or PA, the program makes special changes to the report file for those states as required.

Use the AccuWage program from Social Security

Each year, the Social Security agency makes available free on the web, a program that can be used to check your disk file prior to submission. It is strongly recommended that all companies use this program each year. You can download this program from the government site:




You should save this file to your workstation, install it; then you can use it to test your W2REPORT file after you have created the file for this year. It is helpful in discovering errors that the payroll system does not test for, such as invalid punctuation in employee names.


The government no longer accepts diskettes. You should use the government website to submit your file electronically. Use the BSO (Business Services Online) site at:




From this site you can find information to register your company and receive a User ID if you have not already done so.