What Is a W-2 Form?
A W-2 form or a form W-2 is a technical term for a Wage and Tax Statement of a taxpayer or employee. It is the most popular among IRS tax forms. It shows the total amount you earned and the total taxes you paid.
Stated also in this document is your personal information including your Social Security number and information about your employer with its Employer Identification Number.
Every section of a form W-2 serves a specific purpose in terms of tax filing. A complete set of instructions from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) are being updated every year to make it easier to understand and follow in filling out the form accurately.
When do you get your W-2?
Whenever you earn a salary from a legitimate employer, you will receive a Form W-2 by the end of January of the following year. This covers your wages from the previous year. It should directly come from your employer. W-2 form contains your personal information, all the information regarding your income, and relevant data needed for tax preparation.
If you have more than one employer, it is recommended that you wait for all the other W-2 forms before filing your taxes. Your employer or employers are obliged to send a copy of your Form W-2 to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA will in turn reconcile this information with the data you submitted on your tax return.
In case you have not received the form by the end of February, this is how to get a W-2 form from your employer. First, contact your employer to check if they have the correct address. Second, you may opt to contact the IRS directly so they will be the ones to contact your employer more effectively.
Understanding your IRS W-2 Form
The W-2 form’s purpose is to clearly define and inform all sectors like the IRS, SSA, your employer or employers, as well as yourself of the wages you earned last year. This information will be subjected to tax charts in proportion with your income generation in consideration of your other obligations or tax exemptions. It is therefore important to make sure that all information is accurate and correct.
Having these IRS tax forms only shows that your employer is in good faith to follow the government requirements and so must we. It is indeed our moral obligation to make sure it is submitted to us on time so we can use it then in filing our income tax return accurately and punctually as well.
What to do with your W-2 form
The moment you receive your W-2 form, the following steps are recommended by the IRS to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the document before using it in filing your income tax return.
Step 1: Proofread if all information is correct. Start with your personal information. Double-check the spelling of your name and the correctness of your Social Security number. One of the easiest ways to check the other information is to compare it with your latest pay stub or payslip.
Step 2: Check your previous employer or employers’ records to verify how many W-2 forms you must receive. Most people with multiple jobs last year forget that they will also receive a W-2 form from each of them. This step will help you avoid amending your tax return, thus avoiding the headache.
Step 3: Begin organizing your taxes by making a hardcopy file folder or an electronic storage organizer for paperless filing. You may scan or take an image of your documents and keep it in an external storage drive or cloud storage online.
Final Step: Prepare your taxes by yourself or with the help of an application software online (App) or offline. Either means, it is a good thing to have organized hard copies or softcopy documents for easy reference and accurate filing of tax returns.