A W-2 Form is a form from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which is formally entitled “Wage and Tax Statement”. As the title implies, a Form W-2 reports an employee’s wages and the amount of tax withheld from the employees’ paychecks. It is a type of document that all employers are required to give to each of their employees and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA then shares the information with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS uses W-2 Forms to monitor and keep track of the income and tax liabilities of employees.
There are different kinds of information shown on a W-2 Form. It reflects the wages, tips, and other salary information of employees from the previous tax year, January 1 through December 31. Aside from this, a W-2 Form also indicates the amount of federal and state taxes as well as Social Security and Medicare taxes (collectively known as FICA taxes) that were withheld from the employees’ paychecks.
Furthermore, a W-2 Form also includes information on dependent care benefits, distributions from nonqualified deferred compensation plans, or retirement plan contributions provided by the employer. Certain employee information such as name, address, and Social Security number is also on a W-2.
Who needs to file a W-2 Form?
The responsibility of filing and sending out a W-2 Form rests on the employers. Employers are legally required to give their employees their W-2 Forms. This is sent to each employee to whom the employer paid wages, salary, or any form of compensation. Please note that employees do not include independent contractors and self-employed workers.
When is a W-2 Form filed?
Employers must send W-2 Forms on or before January 31 to each employee to whom they paid a wage, salary, or any compensation.
I am an employee. How do I get a copy of my Form W-2?
Remember that W-2 Forms are issued by employers to employees. They are not found online on any website. If you are an employee and would like to get a copy of your W-2 Form, the best person to ask is your employer. However, you may also have other options.
The first option is to request a W-2 Form copy from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA may give copies of W-2 Forms from 1978 up to the present year. It is free of charge if the employee needs it for a reason related to Social Security. However, for any other purpose aside from Social Security, there is a fee of $90 per request. Here are examples of reasons for requesting W-2 Form that the SSA considers not related to Social Security purposes:
If you are filing federal or state tax returns
If you are establishing residency
If you are providing income information for workers’ compensation
If you are establishing entitlement to private pension benefits
In requesting a W-2 Form from the SSA, you will need to provide your name, Social Security Number, the exact name on your Social Security card, name of W-2 Form, complete mailing address, the year for which you need W-2 Form copies, telephone number, and the reason for requesting a W-2 Form. According to the SSA, for individuals who do not state their reason for the request, the SSA will assume that they need it for reasons not related to Social Security purposes.
Your next option is to request your W-2 Form from the IRS. However, please note that state and local tax information will not be available if you e-filed your tax return.
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