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About Form W-2

The IRS Form W-2 is among the most familiar tax forms. It must be filed by employers for every wage or salary-earning employee from whom taxes have been withheld or who have claimed appropriate exemptions in the previous calendar year. The employer must provide the W-2 form to employees before January 31st. Six copies of the W-2 form must be filled out. One goes to the Social Security administration, one is retained by the employee for their own records, one is filed by the employee with their federal tax returns, one is retained by the employer, one is submitted by the employer to the employee’s state taxing authority, and one is filed with the employee’s local or state income tax returns.

The W-2 has boxes to report Medicare wages and tips, other forms of wages and tips, social security tips, state income tax, Nonqualified plans (tax deferred plans and retirement accounts.), social security wages, allocated tips, advance EIC payments, nonqualified plans and dependent care benefits (the amount deducted from wages for care for dependents, such as nannies, babysitters, daycare, et cetera). The amount to be filled in for wages and tips is to equal to total yearly compensation minus deferred compensation. Wages and tips are taxed for Social security up to the amount of $97,500. Witholdings are entered for Federal income tax, social security tax, and local and state taxes.

Other boxes on the form list the Employer’s name, address and ZIP code, the employee’s social security number, the employer identification number, and the control number, which is determined by payroll software, and the Employer’s State ID number.

W-2 forms can be filed in paper or electronic form. There are three ways to file electronically. A wage report can be created through software that formats the form in accordance with Social Security’s specifications, allowing crosschecking for correctness. Otherwise one can use W-2 Online, to complete forms on a home computer and submit them through the web with no software required, or use W-2c online, which in much the same way can be used to complete forms W-2c. All options are available through Business Services online, which offers Internet tax services for businesses and employers, and can be accessed through the social security website.

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