What Information Is Contained In The W-2?

in Tax Information


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form W-2 is an individual’s wage and tax statement for a given tax year. It contains information used by the Internal Revenue Service to determine an individual’s total wages earned and total taxes paid in. State governments use the IRS form W-2 as well, in the calculation and preparation of state taxes, for those states in which an individual is responsible for paying taxes. We’ll break each box of the W-2 down and explain it’s purpose.

Boxes A through F represent the tax payer’s employer and the tax payer themselves. Box A is the employee’s social security number followed by Box B which is the EIN or Employer Identification Number. Box C gives the employer’s name and address while Box D is the employer’s assigned control number. Boxes E and F represent the employee’s full legal name followed by their full legal address. This address is the address where the employer will mail the W-2 to the employee so it is crucial that this address is current and correct.

On to the numbered boxes, starting with Box 1. Box 1 is your total wages, tips, and any other compensation. Simply put, this is the total money you made at this job for the whole year. Box 2 is the amount of Federal income tax withheld. Box 3 is called Social Security Wages and is generally the same as Box 1. Box 4 is the amount of Social Security tax withheld from your earnings. Box 5 is Medicare Wages and Tips and, again, is usually the same as Box 1. Box 6 contains the amount of Medicare tax withheld. Boxes 7 & 8 are for Social Security tips and Allocated tips, respectively. Box 9 is for any advance Earned Income Credit(EIC) payments made. Box 10 is for any dependent care benefits that your employer paid to you or incurred on your behalf. Box 11 contains any amount from a non qualified deferred compensation plan that you received a distribution from during the year. Box 12 will contain any elected deferrals such as contributions to a Roth IRA or other retirement accounts. There can be various codes and rules related to these kinds of deferrals so it is best to consult with your tax preparation specialist to ensure proper documentation.

Boxes 15 through 20 are related to an individual’s home state or where they legally reside. Box 15 is the Employer’s state Identification Number, assigned by the state where the employee is a resident. Line 16 contains the state wages, tip, etc which is the total amount of money earned by the employee at that job for the year. Box 17 is the amount of state taxes pain in on the wages earned. Boxes 18, 19 and 20 are relevant to the local area where the employee lives and any taxes paid to that locality.

W-2 forms come with six copies. Each copy has a specific purpose and great care should be taken to ensure that the proper copy goes to the proper place to avoid any delay in the filing of your income tax return. Also, any mistakes that you find on your W-2 form should be reported immediately to your employer. You should also request that your employer file form W-2c with the Social Security Administration to correct any discrepancies you find on your W-2 form

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