Alice Gliman

We know that you’re reaching the end of your rope with formatting your 2015 W-2 files for the Social Security Administration. So we thought a little tax humor might fit the bill this week. It’s tough enough to tell a charity that uses donations effectively from one that keeps most of the money it raises for itself. But what’s clear is that you can’t take a failing for-profit business and turn it into a tax-exempt charity. That would be too easy. This is what the IRS had to say to two organizations that tried.

You’re not out of the 2015 woods yet. In Program Manager Technical Advice, the IRS explains that if you fail to provide employees with Forms W-2 and payees with Forms 1099 you can be socked with a penalty. Fail to file those forms with the appropriate agency and you can be socked with another penalty. And filing a transmittal Form W-3 or Form 1096 without W-2s or 1099s attached won’t get you off any penalty hook. This is your last, best opportunity to ensure that your 2015 forms have been properly completed.

You handed out, mailed or posted employees’ W-2s last week. Congratulations! Now your task is to get those files into shape for the Social Security Administration (SSA). While paper forms are due by Feb. 29, the SSA reports that most employers file their forms electronically. E-filed forms are due by March 31. Here are some tips you may find useful when formatting your files.

Tax season is a bonanza for identity thieves. While the IRS has been grappling with ID thieves for years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has reported its first phishing attempt. Here’s what you can tell employees now.

Employees don’t understand their W-2s. They never will. So, to avoid the annual onslaught of questions regarding their forms, a good idea is to prepare FAQs for them. You can stuff this in with their next paycheck.

Every business hires independent contractors. Independent contractors must receive Form 1099-MISC by Feb. 1. Paper forms are due to the IRS by Feb. 29; e-filed forms are due March 31. Reminder: The penalties for failing to file 1099-MISC forms correctly and on time aren’t chump change anymore. Beginning with forms filed this year, the penalties jump to $50, from $30, and that’s only if you manage to file correct forms within 30 days of your mistake. Penalties leap further, the longer you wait to file correct forms. So now is the time to make sure you know the 1099-MISC facts.

For 2015, you could provide employees with up to $130 a month in tax-free qualified mass transit benefits and up to $250 in qualified employer-provided parking. Until, that is, Congress upped the ante by equalizing both benefits at $250 a month, retroactive to the beginning of 2015.

In an act of year-end kindness, the IRS announced in late December that it’s extending the time you have to provide employees with Form 1095-C or 1095-B and the time you have to file those forms. The IRS stressed, however, that if you can furnish and file on time, you should still do so.

Congress has passed two amendments to H.R. 2029—the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, or PATH Act, which is the tax extenders bill, and an omnibus spending bill. The PATH Act accelerates the filing date for both paper and electronic Forms W-2s and 1099-MISC to Jan. 31, beginning with forms filed in 2017. It also extended several key payroll provisions.

Stolen identity refund fraud—SIRF for short—works when identity thieves e-file phony federal and state 1040s and claim bogus refunds long before the IRS and state tax authorities can match employees’ federal and state 1040s to their W-2s. Only Congress can change the federal W-2 filing deadlines, and it doesn’t seem to be inclined to do so right now. States, on the other hand, have a lot more flexibility to change their filing deadlines. Here’s the rundown for 2016.