The IRS has proposed obscuring employee social security numbers on the W-2 form. A public comment period will be open until December 18. In the proposal the first five digits would be obscured or replaced with a symbol. The final four digits will remain clear.  

The goal of the change is to protect employees from identify theft. If the change is implemented the IRS plans to incorporate this into forms and instructions. Employers will be permitted to use a TTIN (truncated taxpayer identification numbers) on the employee’s copy of the report. This rule was published in the September 20 edition of the Federal Register. For more information view the IRS notice here.