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Insurance offered through OnPay Insurance Agency, LLC (CA License #0L29422)
Updated: January 29, 2023
Above is a fillable PDF version of Form W-2 that you can print or download.
If you’ve paid an employee more than $600.00 in a calendar year, you are required by law to send them a W-2 to help them get their taxes done — and to help the government ensure they’re reporting everything correctly. You also must provide a W-2 to any employee if you withheld federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes from their wages, no matter the total. Here’s a quick overview of how W-2s work and how to complete them for your employees.
A W-2 is used by employers to report employee gross annual wages, federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes withheld, as well as state taxes (if any) that are withheld throughout the year. Along with employee wages and withholding information, a W-2 also provides totals for deferred compensation, dependent care benefits, health savings account contributions, and tip income.
Think of it this way: if you have employees and paid them at any time throughout the year, you probably need to provide them with a W-2 come January. The exceptions are for contractors or freelancers: For them, you will need to provide a Form 1099-NEC.
In addition to providing W-2 forms to all employees, you are also responsible for filing a copy of each employee’s W-2 with the Social Security Administration (SSA), as well as submitting Form W-3, which includes all the totals from your employees. For businesses with more than 250 employees, you will need to submit your W-2s electronically to the SSA along with your W-3. Read more about filling out your W-3s.
It is important to carefully complete your paperwork because some common errors may prevent the Social Security Administration from processing a Form W-2. These include adding misspelled employee names, incorrect formatting, and listing Social Security numbers that do not match up in the Social Security Administration (SSA) system.
If you have any doubts about an employee’s Social Security number that you have on file, consider using the Social Security Number Verification Service. The tool, which requires registration but is free, allows users to verify that the names and Social Security numbers of hired employees match those on record with the Social Security Administration.
Your employees’ W-2s should be received by both current and former employees by January 31st each year. The forms also need to be filed with the SSA by January 31st. A one-time, 30-day extension is possible for businesses that cannot file by that date, but it’s important to note that the extension is only for filing with the SSA – employees still must receive their W-2 from you by January 31st. Also, note that any W-2s which are returned as undeliverable must be kept on file for four years.
If you use a payroll service provider, it’s likely that W-2s will be prepared for you, though it remains the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the information on them is accurate and the forms are sent in a timely manner.
When you’re ready to complete your W-2s for the year, you will need the following information at your fingertips:
If you’ve been keeping good payroll records throughout the year (or relying on good payroll software) gathering this information should require little effort, if any.
For the tax year 2022, the IRS has given employers the option to “truncate” or hide the first five (5) digits of an employee’s social security number in “box a” of Form W-2 (SSN numbers can only be truncated on employee copies only such as Copy B, C, and 2). Truncating numbers on Copy A — which needs to be filed with the Social Security Administration — is not allowed. The IRS will allow employers to use one of two formats.
SSA numbers on employee copies may be truncated using:
Note: if you decide to truncate the number on employee copies, remember it still must display the last four digits of the social security number, i.e.: – 0000.
Remember that you’ll need to prepare and deliver a different W-2 form for each employee.
Boxes A-F on a W-2 represent employee/employer information:
Once complete, enter the following in the numbered boxes:
These codes include the following:
A – Uncollected Social Security or RRTA tax on tips
B – Uncollected Medicare tax on tips (but not Additional Medicare Tax)
C – Taxable cost of group-term life insurance over $50
D – Elective deferrals to a section 401(k) cash or deferred arrangement plan (including a SIMPLE 401(k) arrangement)
E – Elective deferrals under a section 403(b) salary reduction agreement
F – Elective deferrals under a section 408(k)(6) salary reduction SEP
G – Elective deferrals and employer contributions (including nonelective deferrals) to a section 457(b) deferred compensation plan.
H – Elective deferrals to a section 501(c)(18)(D) tax-exempt organization plan
J – Nontaxable sick pay
K – 20% excise tax on excess golden parachute payments
L – Substantiated employee business expense reimbursements
M – Uncollected Social Security or RRTA tax on taxable cost of group-term life insurance over $50,000 (former employees only)
N – Uncollected Medicare tax on taxable cost of group-term life insurance over $50,000 (but not Additional Medicare Tax) (former employees only)
P – Excludable moving expense reimbursements paid directly to the employee
Q – Nontaxable combat pay
R – Employer contributions to an Archer MSA
S – Employee salary reduction contributions under a section 408(p) SIMPLE plan.
T – Adoption benefits
V – Income from exercise of nonstatutory stock option(s)
W – Employer contributions (including employee contributions through a cafeteria plan) to an employee’s health savings account (HSA)
Y – Deferrals under a section 409A nonqualified deferred compensation plan.
Z – Income under a nonqualified deferred compensation plan that fails to satisfy section 409A
AA – Designated Roth contributions under a section 401(k) plan
BB – Designated Roth contributions under a section 403(b) plan
CC – HIRE exempt wages and tips (2010 only)
DD – Cost of employer-sponsored health coverage
EE – Designated Roth contributions under a governmental section 457(b) plan
FF – Permitted benefits under a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (the amount the employee is entitled to receive for the year, not the actual amount)
GG – Income from qualified equity grants under section 83(i)
HH – Aggregate deferrals under section 83(i) elections as of the close of the calendar year
OnPay is a simple, easy-to-use tool for busy business owners who could always use one less thing to worry about. It automatically calculates how much I need to pay my staff, lets me easily print W-2s, and takes the stress out of filing my own payroll taxes.
— Lacey Patterson, Electric Dance Gallery and Education
If you’re already using small business payroll software, W-2s should be filled out automatically, which will alleviate a lot of the headaches of end-of-year tax time. For additional information on Form W-2, visit the IRS website for detailed instructions.