Payroll News You Can Use from LPI: Authors of DATASMITH Payroll

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1997 Year End

Once again this year, the SSA issued a new TIB-4 (a key specification on W-2's) in October (way too late!). However, they did refrain from making changes to the magnetic media (diskette) W-2 even though they had threatened to add fields to it earlier. The print pattern for the "official" format (2/page) W-2's is the same as in 1996.

On the 1099-MISC forms, the IRS had threatened to require employers to include both a contact name (a specific person) and a phone number. They backed off (possibly because everyone whose name might appear on the form threatened to resign), and will want only a phone number on the 1997 forms. We were waiting for some guidance as to where the phone number ought to be printed, as IRS had hinted that the form might be redesigned. As it turned out, the basic form design is the same as last year, and vendors are pretty much left to figure out for themselves where the phone number ought to go.

This year the real culprits are the laser forms printers. There are now at least eight style variations of the 4-up laser W-2 forms: each with its own unique print pattern and envelope. Changes have been made in almost every one of these forms so that last year's envelopes won't fit, and print positions must be changed. To make the situation worse, some vendors are shipping 4-up laser W-2's which do not match the samples they furnished us earlier this year!

LPI has issued a "last minute update" to cover all of the issues outlined above. You definitely need to wait for this update if: a. You are using 4-up laser forms.
or b. You are printing 1099-MISC forms which need a phone number.
DATASMITH Payroll systems labeled 'Version 9.55' and later already include the "Last Minute Update".

You probably have everything you need to print 1997 W-2 forms if you are using "official" format (2/page) W-2's (continuous or laser) and/or magnetic media W-2's. The "last minute update" will be automatically shipped to all Version 9.5 recipients. In addition, you will be able to download the update from our Web site using your serial number as a password: