Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

U-M employees can ‘Go Blue’ with ‘green’ W-2s

The University Payroll Office is encouraging employees to “Go Blue” and use a “greener” process to access a hard copy of their Form W-2 tax statement this year. Doing so can help U-M save paper and money.

This is the third year the Payroll Office is offering faculty and staff the option of printing their own W-2 rather than waiting for the hard copy to be mailed at the end of January. In the first year, 19 percent of faculty and staff printed their own W-2’s. The number increased to 33 percent last year. Still, more than 40,000 W-2’s were mailed for calendar year 2008.

Benefits of employees printing their own W-2 include:

• The electronic version is available much earlier than the hard copy.

• Sensitive information such as an employee’s Social Security number is not being sent via the U.S. Postal Service.

• For each electronic form, the university saves the cost of an envelope, paper, printing, processing/handling and postage — creating a “green” solution with a positive budget impact.

How can people participate? Consent now — even though the W-2 may not be needed until later. Consenting by Jan. 25 will stop the hard copy form from being produced and mailed.

To consent to an electronic version now, access the “View W-2 Forms” option in Wolverine Access under Employee Business or Employee Self Service. After checking the consent box, employees will have the option to print the W-2 immediately or later when they file a tax return. Employees may return to Employee Self Service and print it anytime they want, as many times as they want.

“Many times we have heard staff members say they want to wait for the original form. What they don’t realize is that the form that is eventually mailed is identical to the electronic version available in self-service. There is no longer special paper that is used for the mailing,” says Lynn Mullaly, the university’s payroll tax manager.

That means the form is the same whether employees print the form themselves or receive it by mail.

The University Payroll Office’s goal for this year is to have at least 40 percent of W-2’s accepted electronically — a savings of approximately $25,000.