How to Fill Out a W2 Tax Form

Many legal documents go into filing taxes each year with the W2 tax form being one of the primary papers.

A W2 form is one of the most basic tax forms. If you are an employee, then you will most likely need a W2 form to file your tax return. Thankfully, the W2 is also a form that’s generally filled out by your employer, so you don’t actually have to worry about filling out a W2 form. You just need to know how to use it. 

What is a W2 Form?

The W2 tax form is one of the primary tax forms for employed individuals. It is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to report all your wages from an employer for the year. If you are a W2 employee, or a traditional employee, then you can expect to receive a W2 tax form from your employer sometime at the beginning of the year. 

The W2 form you receive from your employer will outline all of the wages, salary, and compensation you were paid by this job during the year. Then you’ll use this information and this form to file your tax return with the IRS. 

The IRS requires that employers have their employees’ W2 forms sent in a timely manner so that employees can file their own tax returns on time. You should receive a W2 from your employer before the end of January each year. If you haven’t received your W2 yet, contact your work’s payroll office to make sure they have the correct information for sending you the forms you need. 

How to Fill Out a W2 Form

One of the great things about a W2 form is that you don’t actually have to fill anything out. Instead, your employer’s payroll office fills it all out and sends you the completed form. 

You’ll only receive a W2 form if you are a traditionally hired employee. If you are an independent contractor, self-employed, or freelancer, then there are forms you’ll need to fill out yourself and different forms you’ll need from your clients. 

Understanding how the W2 form is filled out though will help you better understand how to use the W2 form to file and submit your own tax return. Basically, there are 2 sections—a section with lettered boxes and another section with numbered boxes. 

The Lettered W2 Boxes 

The following boxes serve to identify the worker whose form this is. Some of the boxes are also for employer information to identify who the worker works for. The employer is usually the one who will fill out all of this information. 

(a) In this box you'll find the social security number (SSN) or Tax Identification Number (TIN) of the worker. 

(b) In this box you'll find the Employer Identification Number (EIN) of the employer of the worker. 

(c) In this box you'll find the full name and address of the employer of the worker. 

(d) In this box you'll find the Control Number. This is a unique number that the employer uses to distinguish a worker's W2 from any other worker. 

(e) In this box you'll find the worker's full name, including any suffix they might have. 

(f) In this box you'll find the full address of the worker whose W2 form this is. 

The Numbered W2 Boxes

Remember that not all forms of income apply to everyone, so if some of the following boxes are empty it might just mean that you didn't receive that particular type of income this past year. 

(1) In this box you'll find your basic wages for the year like income, tips, and other compensation. 

(2) In this box you'll find the amount of federal income tax that was taken out of your wages from box 1. 

(3) In this box you'll find the amount of income you received from social security benefits. 

(4) In this box you'll find the amount of taxes that were taken out of your social security income. 

(5) In this box you'll find all the income you received from medicare. 

(6) In this box you'll find the amount of taxes that were taken out of the medicare wages you earned. 

(7) In this box you'll find any income you received from social security tips. 

(8) In this box you'll find the amount of those social security tips that were allocated toward taxes. 

(9) In this box you'll find the Verification Code that your employer uses for a W2 verification program. If your employer doesn't participate in this program then this box will be blank and grayed out. 

(10) In this box you'll find the amount you were able to withhold from taxes in each paycheck in order to care for dependents at home. 

(11) In this box you'll find any amount that went toward your employer's retirement benefits plan. 

(12) In this box you'll find W2 Box 12 Codes that all mean different things. For example, code A refers to any amount of social security tips that weren't collected for taxes. 

(13) In this box you'll find checkboxes that indicate whether the worker had access to or used a retirement plan or sick pay. Statutory Employee indicates whether the worker was a contracted individual that is treated as a regular employee. 

(14) In this box you'll find extra space for any special notes. 

(15) In this box you'll find a space for the state the employer lives in and the state ID number for that specific employer. 

(16) In this box you'll find the amount of wages you earned that were taxable by the state. 

(17) In this box you'll find the state taxes your wages paid if you are subject to state taxes. 

(18) In this box you'll find the amount of wages you earned that are taxable by local governments. 

(19) In this box you'll find the amount of your wages that went toward local taxes. 

(20) In this box you'll find the name of the local government that taxed your wages at a local level. 

What is a W2g Form?

This form is to report any income you earned from gambling and other winnings. This form will then also outline things like how much of those earnings were taxable and how much was paid in taxes through those winnings. 

How to Fill Out a W2g Form

Have you earned any winnings in the past year? If so, then you'll want to fill out and submit another W2 form, a W2G form. This will outline your winnings and the taxes paid on those winnings. 

On the left of the form, there are several boxes that aren't lettered or numbered. In these boxes, you'll fill out the information about the entity that is paying the winnings and your information as the winner. 

(box 1) Fill out the full name and address of the entity paying the winning money. 

(box 2) Fill out the Federal Identification Number of the entity paying the winning money. 

(box 3) Fill out the phone number of the payer. 

(box 4) Fill out the full name of the one who won the money, aka the winner. 

(box 5) Fill out the street address of the one who won the money. 

(box 6) Fill out the rest of the address of the one who won the money. 

In the numbered boxes of the W2g form, you’ll find spaces to outline all the monetary details of your winnings. This section will outline how much you won, the date you won, the type of wager, the federal income taxes withheld from the amount you won, and many more details for the IRS. 

How to Fill Out a W2c Form

The W2c form can seem complicated but it’s actually fairly simple. Basically, it will have you outline what was previously reported on your original W2 form. Then, alongside that original information, you’ll outline the correct information. Other than that, the way you fill out a W2c form is very similar to how the original W2 form is filled out. 

In Conclusion,

Your taxes are important and understanding the tax forms involved is one way to make tax season easier on yourself. By better understanding the W2 form you can understand the information it provides and how to use it when you file tax returns.