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All You Need to Know about W-2 Form

All You Need to Know About W2-Forms

It’s finally January, the start of the filing season. At the end of the month every employee expects to receive W-2 from employers. As an employee, you must know that the information reported in your W-2 is important to prepare your tax returns. You must receive it on time and the information reported should be correct. Hence it is important to know what to do with W-2 and in case you did not receive your W-2 or the information reported is wrong.

What is W-2 Form?

W-2 or Wage and Tax Statement is the form filed by an employer reporting employee’s wages and compensation. The due date for filing is January 31. If you are an employee, expect to receive the form from your employer up to a week after the due date. If you are a freelancer or independent contractor who delivered services the same as with a regular employee, you will receive Form 1099 instead of W-2.

Importance of your tax withholding

When you prepare your Form 1040 to calculate your tax bill, you must subtract the amount withheld stated in your W-2. You should do this so you would know whether you have to pay more or expect a refund. Remember that the IRS knows your annual wages and salary, negligence or understatement is heavily penalized by the IRS.

Tips after W-2 Form Arrives

Here’s what you should do with w-2 to avoid problems in filing your tax return.


  • First off, check all the information indicated in the form. Employers commonly err in your social security number. Also, it is helpful to compare the figures in Box 1, 2, 16 and Box 17 to that indicated in your final paycheck.
  • If some information is wrong, immediately ask your employer to issues a corrected form. You MUST NOT change the information yourself as it has to be same with the form sent to the government.
  • Do the following tips if you did not receive your W-2 form

If You didn’t receive your W-2…

Do not panic and look around. Double check before assuming that it was not delivered.

Check your email. Although your employer cannot send you your W-2 without your consent, it is probable that you’ve ticked the box requesting to receive the form electronically. Also employers may send e-copy when they sent a paper copy. Check your inbox and spam folder.

Contact your employer. If you’re sure you did not receive your W-2 ask your employer to send over the form. Make sure you give a correct address.

Contact the IRS. If you still did not receive two weeks after the W-2 deadline, contact the IRS at 800-829-1040. Prepare your correct and complete address, Social Security number and the following information when you call:

  • The employer’s name, address and phone number;
  • Your employment dates;
  • An estimate of your wages and federal income tax withheld in 2016, based on your final pay stub or leave-and-earnings statement, if available.

File anyway. File your income tax return on time even without W-2 form provided you file Form 4852 in lieu of W-2. With this form you can estimate your income and withholding taxes. Expect a delay as the IRS will verify your information.

Amend your tax return. If you received your W-2 after filing your tax return with form 4852 and noticed that the figures are different from that reported in the Form 4852, you must correct your tax return. To do this, file form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

File for extension. All all else fail, avail of a 6-month extension of time to file your tax return. File Form 4868 by the due date for your return, Form 1040. Note that you have to present your prior year’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI).

If You received Multiple W-2 Forms…

Do not be surprised if you receive more than one W-2 from the same employer. Here’s what you should do with multiple W-2 forms:

  • Enter each separately. If you received more than one W-2 from the same employer with different figures indicated on each form enter them separately.
  • Only enter one. If you received two exactly identical W-2s only enter one form and keep the other aside. Remember not to enter them both.
  • Just enter the other W-2 if you received another one that is mostly blank and make sure you include the information added in the “blank” W-2. The mostly “blank” W-2 commonly reports additional figure in box 12

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