What You Need to Know About a W-2 Form?

Know more about W-2 form

The W-2 form or the Wage and Tax Statement is a document employers are mandated to send to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and every employee at the end of the year.

The form reports an employee’s annual salary and the taxes the employer withheld. The W-2 document also contains the employee’s Medicare and Social Security earnings. Discussed below is what you need to know about the W-2 form.

How an authentic W-2 form looks like

The W-2 form is a standard document made by the American document, meaning the information it contains is formatted in a specific, consistent manner. While the financial information and figures in the W-2 form are unique for each individual, the form should be hard to tell from one document to the other. Its attributes should be identical. They include:

  • Template
  • Format
  • Structure
  • Logo positioning
  • Fonts
  • Spacing

If the document seems to have formatting irregularities compared to the known authentic form, or if the basic data appears misplaced or missing, that could be a forged, manipulated W2 form.

Contents of the W-2 form

The W-2 contains details about:

  • Withheld federal income tax
  • Tips, wages, and other compensation
  • Medicare and Social Security earnings
  • Medicare and Social Security taxes are withheld
  • Employer identification number
  • Employee Social Security number
  • Employer and employee names and addresses
  • Adjustments to income like 401 contributions

W-2 form copies

There are several W-2 form copies that should be sent to different places, including:

  • Copy 1: When required, file with the local, city, or state tax department
  • Copy A: e-file or mail it to the SSA (Social Security Administration) alongside the W-3 form
  • Copy B: It’s sent to the employee, who then files it with their federal income tax return
  • Copy 2: It’s sent to the employee. If need be, the employee files this copy with their city, local, or state tax department
  • Copy C: This copy is sent to the employee for record-keeping
  • Copy D: The employer keeps this for their business records

Who files the W-2 form?

Employers should file the W-2s and give copies to the employees. Employers must also provide their staff with the W-2 forms electronically or by mail on or before January 31st each year. If you fail to receive your form, you must find a copy and file your returns on time.

What to do if you haven’t received the W-2 form

If you’re yet to get the W-2 form from your employer, the following steps can be helpful:

  • Reach out to your employer or the human resource department: If you haven’t received your W-2 form, it could be due to a clerical error, so contact your employer or HR department for clarifications on your email address or mailing.
  • Contact the IRS: Where your employer cannot assist, request the W-2 form from the IRS.

If you don’t receive your W-2 form in time to file your returns on time, file for an extension as you await the form. Alternatively, if you cannot file an extension, you can estimate your earnings and tax withholdings and then use Form 4852 to file your returns. Upon receiving the proper paperwork, you may amend the returns.


The W-2 form reports employee salaries and withheld taxes. Consider understanding the W-2 form before filing taxes.

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