Form w-2 Frequently Asked Questions

See below for a list of the most frequently asked questions. To show the answer just click on the plus (+) symbol and if you have additional questions about your tax forms please contact your employer.

The Form W-2 (officially, the "Wage and Tax Statement") is the tax document that an employer must send to an employee and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at the end of each year. The W-2 reports an employee's annual wages and the amount of taxes withheld from his or her paycheck. 

An employer must provide the Form W-2 to employees on or before January 31. This deadline gives taxpayers over 2 months to prepare their returns before the April 15 income tax due date.

Form W-2 includes employer, employee, wage and salary information as well as federal, state and other taxes that were withheld. This information is used by the employee when they complete their individual tax return using the Form 1040 series. 

The employee receives three copies of Form W-2: one for their own record, one for the federal tax return, and one for the state tax return. Form W-2 must be attached to both the federal and state returns; this is to help support claims of tax withholding (see question below for more information). 

A withholding is money sent directly to the federal, state, or local tax authorities each pay period, which reduces the amount paid when submitting annual tax returns.

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) is a United States federal payroll (or employment) contribution directed towards both employees and employers to help fund Social Security and Medicare – federal programs that provide benefits for retirees, people with disabilities, and children of deceased workers.

This document is the official record for a person's annual earnings (salary, bonuses, commissions, pensions, gambling winnings, etc.), and the taxes paid for the year. The IRS as well as other federal, state, and local agencies use the W-2 as formal proof of income, and it may be used in court proceedings and applications for financial aid.