W-2 Form

What is W-2 Form ?


The W-2 form, also known as the Wage and Tax Statement, is a crucial tax document in the United States. It reports an employee's annual earnings and the amount of taxes withheld from their paycheck. Employers are required to issue W-2 forms to their employees and the Social Security Administration (SSA) to ensure proper tax reporting and compliance.

Who Files W-2 Form?

Every employer with employees in the U.S., including remote workers, must file W-2 forms. This includes employees from whom taxes such as Social Security, income tax, and Medicare tax are withheld, and those paid more than $600 annually for services rendered.

Filing a W-2 Form

To file a W-2 form, employers must send a copy to the SSA, the relevant state tax department, the employee, and keep a copy for their records. This distribution should be completed by January 31st following the tax year.

Submission of W-3 Form with W-2 Form

Along with W-2 forms, employers must submit Form W-3, which summarizes the total payroll expenses and withholdings. The W-3 form should be sent to the SSA.

Correcting Errors on W-2 Form

If errors are found on a W-2 form, employers must issue a corrected W-2 form, known as W-2C, to rectify the mistakes.

Contents of a W-2 Form

A W-2 form includes various pieces of information about the employer and the employee, such as:

  • Boxes A-F: Employee's SSN, employer's EIN, and both parties' addresses.
  • Boxes 1-6: Employee's total compensation and amounts withheld for federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes.
  • Boxes 7-8: Total tips earned and allocated.
  • Boxes 9-14: Various codes reporting different compensations and withholdings.
  • Boxes 15-20: State tax information, including wages eligible for state and local income tax and the amount withheld.

Reading a W-2 Form

Understanding how to read a W-2 form is essential for ensuring accuracy. Each box on the form has a specific purpose, from reporting wages and taxes withheld to detailing state tax information.

Deadline for W-2 Forms

Employers must provide W-2 forms to their employees and the SSA by January 31st of the year following the tax year.

Difference Between W-2 Form and W-4 Form

While the W-2 form reports an employee's earnings and taxes withheld, the W-4 form is filled out by employees to inform employers of the amount to withhold for federal income taxes. The W-4 form helps employers calculate the correct amount of federal income tax to withhold from an employee's pay.

Final Thoughts

For employers, especially those with remote or distributed teams, understanding and accurately handling W-2 forms is a vital part of payroll management. It ensures compliance with tax laws and provides employees with necessary information for their tax filings. Employers should stay diligent in their record-keeping and adhere to deadlines to avoid penalties and ensure smooth year-end tax processes.