The W-2 is a tax form your employer must complete at the start of each year to report what you earned in the previous year and how much it withheld in taxes.
Employers fill out the W-2 form for each of their employees every year and send it to the:
W-2 forms are standardized, so no matter where you work, you can always expect the same thing. Each contains information reported in boxes, including:
Don’t confuse the W-2 you get each with another IRS form known as the W-4. That’s the paperwork you fill out when you start a job, not what you need to file your taxes.
|Who fills it out?||Employer||Employee|
|Who uses it?||Employee, IRS, state and local governments, Social Security Administration||Employer|
|When is it completed?||Every year||When you start a new job or if you need to update your information|
|What is it for?||Reports pay and the amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck throughout the year||Tells your employer how much to withhold in taxes (based on factors like the number of kids you have and whether you’re married)|
For the most part, W-2s can cause fewer headaches than other types of tax forms. But there are still a few nitty-gritty details it’s important to know about:
Each year your employer reports your pay and withheld taxes on a W-2 form. This information goes to you along with the IRS, state and local governments, and the Social Security Administration. You use it to file your taxes, while governments use it to make sure you’ve paid what you owe and check if you need a refund.