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Do W-2, W-3, 1099, or 1096 forms need to be printed on red forms or on plain paper in black ink?

Eric Updated by Eric

Which forms need to be submitted on official red forms? Which forms are acceptable on plain printer paper?

1099 and 1096

The IRS requires the 1099 and 1096 forms to be on red Copy A forms (sometimes referred to as "pink" instead of "red"). They cannot be submitted on plain paper.

Note: The IRS discontinued the use of red forms for Form 1099-SA due to low usage. The IRS does not have a red form for Form W-2G. Copy A of both forms are printed on plain black paper.

1099 recipients should be printed on blank, perforated paper.

Click here to purchase 1099/1096 Copy A's as well as blank perforated forms that are compatible with Payroll System W2/1099.

Payroll System W2/1099 prints 1099 recipient copies on 3-up perforated paper (except 1099-R recipients, which is 4-up)

W2 and W3

Red form use is optional for submitting Copy A of W2 and W3. The SSA will accept W2 and W3 forms on plain paper with regular black ink from approved software. CFS Payroll System W2/1099 is approved by the SSA to print these scannable forms. To print them, refer to the following articles:

Printing SSA-approved, black scannable W-2 forms

​Printing SSA-approved, black scannable W-3 forms

Employee copies, however, should be printed on blank, perforated paper. Click here to purchase blank, perforated forms that are compatible with Payroll System W2/1099.

Payroll System W2/1099 prints W2 employee copies on 4-up perforated paper

W2C and W3C

Although the SSA accepts W-2C and W-3C red forms for submittal of Copy A, CFS only prints the approved black scannable versions. This is more convenient and less expensive for our users.

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