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What is W-2 or Wage Income?

Sample Paycheck

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Sample W-2 Form

It's taxable income reported on IRS Form W-2. 

What is a W-2 Form?

It reports your annual wages and the amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck.

What Does W-2 Mean?

The "W" stands for "withholding". We don't know what the "2" means, but we'll update this page once we find out! 

Why Would I Receive a W-2 Form?

You would receive a W-2 if you earned income with withheld tax or your income is at least $600 with no tax withheld during the year.

Who Gives Me a W-2?

Your employer gives you the W-2. He or she also sends a copy of the W-2 to the IRS.

How Is it Different from a W-4 Form?

While a W-2 is for employers to complete and send to you, you complete and provide a W-4 to your employer to inform them of how much tax you want withheld from your paycheck.  

When Would I Receive Form W-2? 

An employer would give you a W-2 if you received income for performing services and the following tax is withheld: 

When Would Tax Be Withheld From My Income? 

Tax would only be withheld from your income if you claimed no more than one withholding allowance on a W-4 form or you had not claimed a withholding exemption. 

What is on My W-2 Form? 

The following items are listed on your W-2 form: 

  • Box A: Your SSN
  • Box B: Your employer's identification number (EIN)
  • Box C: Your employer's name, address (may be company's headquarters instead of local address), city, state, and zip code
  • Box D: Control number assigned by company's payroll processing software that identifies your W-2 in your employer's documents
  • Box E: Your full name
  • Box F: Your address, city, state, and zip code

What is the Locality Code?

This is the number indicating where your employer is located. Your state may require the code to allocate local income taxes. You can find the code in the state section of your W-2. 

When Should I Receive My W-2?

Generally, employers are required to send W-2s to employees by January 31.

What Do I Do If There's an Error on My W-2?

You should contact your employer and request a corrected W-2. 

What If I Don't Receive My W-2? 

If you have not received your W-2 by February 14, you should call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. When you call, you must provide your name, address, city and state, zip code, Social Security number and phone number. You should also have the following information on hand: 

  • Employer’s name, address, city and state, zip code, and phone number
  • Dates of employment
  • Estimate of earned wages, federal income tax withheld (estimate should be based on year-to-date information from your final pay stub or leave-and-earnings statement). 

What Form Do I Complete If I Don't Have a W-2?

You can report your income on Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2. This form can be prepare and efiled with your tax return on

How Do I Receive a Copy of a W-2?

Copies of W-2 forms must generally be obtained from your employer (or previous employer). However, you can get the information from an old W-2 by ordering a free transcript from the IRS.

How Do I Report My W-2 Income on My Tax Return?

Once you answer a few simple questions during the tax interview, we will select the correct form(s) for you to use to report your W-2 income.

What Do I Enter on My Return If There's No State Tax on My W-2? 

If the W-2 form you received has no State wages and income taxes, do not select a state nor enter a state tax withholding amount on line 15 of your W-2 screen. If you select a state, lines 16 and 17 will be required. In addition, if there are no Local wages or Local income taxes on your W-2 form, leave those fields empty on the W-2 screen.