Has your business received a Social Security no match letter in the past few months? Starting in the spring of 2019, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has been sending out these letters to alert employers if there’s a discrepancy between the agency’s files and data reported on W-2 forms, which are filed with the IRS. It could be that an employee’s name and Social Security number (SSN) don’t match the government’s records and the letters “advise employers that corrections are needed in order for us to properly post” employees’ earnings. If a person’s earnings are missing, the worker may not qualify for all of the Social Security benefits he or she is entitled to, or the benefit received may be incorrect.
Why discrepancies occur
There are a number of reasons why names and SSNs don’t match. They include typographical errors when inputting numbers and name changes due to marriage or divorce. And, of course, employees could intentionally give the wrong information to employers, as is sometimes the case with undocumented workers.
Some lawmakers have expressed opposition to no-match letters, noting their concern that under “the current immigration enforcement climate,” employers might “mistakenly believe that the no-match letter indicates that workers lack immigration status and will fire these workers — even those who can legally work in the United States.”
How to proceed
If you receive a no-match letter telling you that an employee’s name and SSN don’t match IRS records, the SSA gives the following advice:
- Check to see if your information matches the name and SSN on the employee’s Social Security card. If it doesn’t, ask the employee to provide you with the exact information as it is shown on the card.
- If the information matches the employee’s card, ask your employee to check with the local Social Security office to resolve the issue.
- Once resolved, the employee should inform you of any changes.
The SSA notes that the IRS is responsible for any penalties associated with W-2 forms that have incorrect information. If you have questions, contact us or check out these frequently asked questions from the SSA: https://bit.ly/2Yv87M6