Learn what the W2 is and how to read it. If you are traditionally employed, then you'll probably get your W2 form in January or early February.
Understanding your W2 is important because you'll need your W2 to file your tax return. Learning how to read a W2 tax form will help you file your tax return faster and easier this year.
A W2 is one of the most basic tax forms. If you are an employee, then you will most likely need this form to file your tax return.
The W2 is also a form that’s generally filled out by your employer and then used by employees to file taxes. There are also other W-forms that outline information that may not fit on one form.
So you don’t actually have to worry about filling out a W2. You just need to know how to use it to file and get a good tax refund.
What is a W2 Form?
The W2 form is the wage and tax statement used to report employee income and tax payments. It is one of the primary tax forms for employed individuals.
Specifically, the W2 is a form you receive from your employer that reports all of the wages, salary, and compensation you were paid for this job during the year. It also reports employment taxes like your social security and Medicare tax payments.
Then you’ll use this information and this form to file your tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
If you are a W2 employee, or a traditional employee that filled out form W4 when you were first hired, then you will receive a W2.
How Can I Get a Copy of My W2 Online?
You can get a copy of your W2 online on your employee dashboard or through an email from your employer. If your company has a digital employee dashboard, then a digital copy might be available on your online employee account. You may also receive a digital copy via email or a paper copy in the mail.
When Do I Get My W2 Tax Form?
The W2 deadline for sending this form to employees is no later than January 31st. The IRS requires employers to send W2's out by January 31st at the latest. For you, this means you could receive your W2 in January or early February.
If it's mid-February and you still haven't received your W2, then you may want to contact your employer to ask about the delay. There could be something wrong with the address or email address your company has on file for you.
How to Get My W2 From a Previous Employer?
Usually, you can get your W2 from a previous employer by contacting that employer and requesting the form. Try contacting the previous employer's Human Resources (HR) department or the payroll administration department directly. If this doesn't work, you can also contact the IRS with your previous employer's Employer Identification Number (EIN).
What is a W2g Form?
The W2g form is used 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 Read a W2g
Have you earned any winnings in the past year? If so, then you'll want to fill out and submit this 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, 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.
What is a W2c Form?
The W2c form is a tax form used to report a correction you want to make if your original W2 is wrong somehow.
How to Fill Out a W2c
The W2c can seem complicated but it’s actually fairly simple.
Basically, it will have you outline what was previously reported on your original form, then, alongside that original information, you’ll outline the correct information.
Other than that, the way you fill out a W2c is very similar to how the original is filled out.
What is Form W3?
The W3 is used to report overall employee income to the IRS and the Social Security Administration (SSA).
If you own and operate a business and have more than one W2 employee, then you'll need to fill out a W3 form for your business taxes.
How to Read a W2
Learn how to read a W2 so you can know how to file form W2. Filing this form is the primary way many tax payers file their federal and state income tax returns on form 1040.
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.
box a: In this box you'll find the social security number (SSN) or Tax Identification Number (TIN) of the worker.
box b: In this box you'll find the Employer Identification Number (EIN) of the employer of the worker.
box c: In this box you'll find the full name and address of the employer of the worker.
box 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.
box e: In this box you'll find the worker's full name, including any suffix they might have.
box f: In this box you'll find the full address of the worker whose form this is.
The Numbered W2 Boxes
If some of the following boxes are empty it might just mean that you didn't receive that type of income this past tax year. You also won't find adjusted gross income on the W2. That calculation comes later in the filing process.
box 1: In this box you'll find your basic wages for the year like income, tip income, wages tips, and other compensation.
box 2: In this box you'll find the amount of federal income tax that was taken out of your wages from box 1.
box 3: In this box you'll find the amount of income you received from social security benefits.
box 4: In this box you'll find the amount of social security taxes paid taxes that were taken out of your social security income.
box 5: In this box you'll find all the income you received from Medicare.
box 6: In this box you'll find the amount of taxes that were taken out of the Medicare wages you earned.
box 7: In this box you'll find any income you received from social security tips.
box 8: In this box you'll find the amount of those social security tips that were allocated toward taxes.
box 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.
box 10: In this box you'll find the amount of dependent care benefits you were able to withhold from taxes in each paycheck to care for dependents at home.
box 11: In this box you'll find any amount that went toward your employer's retirement benefits plan.
box 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.
box 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.
box 14: In this box you'll find extra space for any special notes.
box 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.
box 16: In this box you'll find the amount of wages you earned that were taxable by the state.
box 17: In this box you'll find the state taxes your wages paid if you are subject to state taxes.
box 18: In this box you'll find the amount of wages you earned that are taxable by local governments.
box 19: In this box you'll find the amount of your wages that went toward local taxes.
box 20: In this box you'll find the name of the local government that taxed your wages at a local level.