How to read a W-2 form (article) | Tax forms | Khan Academy (2024)

Think of a W-2 form as an annual report card from your employer, only this one's for the IRS. In our upcoming lesson, we'll deep-dive into what this form is really about, why it's essential, and how to make sense of it.

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  • Georgeson Cas

    9 months agoPosted 9 months ago. Direct link to Georgeson Cas's post “So is the first box (1) s...”

    So is the first box (1) showing the gross income? I'm still slightly confused.

    (2 votes)

    • David Alexander

      9 months agoPosted 9 months ago. Direct link to David Alexander's post “Gross income is the total...”

      Gross income is the total amount paid to you BEFORE taxes and other required fees (like FICA and Medicare) are deducted.

      So, If your job pays you $5 an hour and you work 40 hours a week, your gross pay is $200. But taxes, FICA and Medicare deductions are made. You may also pay certain amounts for required state disability insurance, city and state income taxes, and such. Let's say those take $25 per week from you. So, your GROSS income was $200, but your NET income was $175. At the end of the year, your W-2 form will report 52 weeks times $200, a gross income of $10,400.

      (4 votes)

  • Alex

    10 months agoPosted 10 months ago. Direct link to Alex's post “I understand most of this...”

    I understand most of this, but I'm not quite sure about a few things, firstly, where exactly are the Social Security and Medicare wages coming from? Secondly, in the video for this lesson, Khan was talking about how the Social Security wage included the 401K, however, 62,500 + 4,500 ≠ 64,000. Sorry about my confusion, I just really want to know.

    (1 vote)

    • Box 12 is a miscellaneous box. Some employers use it, and some don't, but it essentially contains any information that the employer was recording and bookkeeping. In the specific case of $4,500 recorded in box D, it reflects contributions to a 401(k). However, some employers have multiple offerings for 401(k)s, some of which are before, and some after taxes are taken out, like a ROTH 401(k). The discrepancy may be from that. A portion of 401(k) contribution was taxed and other portion was not. But, your understanding is spot on - most commonly they add up to Social Security wage, but not all the time. Hope that helps.

      (2 votes)

  • Samantha Jean-Louis

    a month agoPosted a month ago. Direct link to Samantha Jean-Louis's post “Do taxes affect your cred...”

    Do taxes affect your credit score?

    (1 vote)

    • David Alexander

      a month agoPosted a month ago. Direct link to David Alexander's post “If you don't pay them, th...”

      If you don't pay them, that will certainly affect your score.

      (2 votes)

  • Kalfus

    7 months agoPosted 7 months ago. Direct link to Kalfus's post “How do you figure out if ...”

    How do you figure out if you overpaid in taxes? I'm assuming you will have to find out the percentage of your money that was supposed to be taken away and do the math yourself.

    (1 vote)

    • David Alexander

      7 months agoPosted 7 months ago. Direct link to David Alexander's post “The W-2 form will show ho...”

      The W-2 form will show how much you earned, and how much of that was withheld for taxes. If you overpaid, then when you file your taxes, you will be eligible for a refund. Adjust your deductions and such so less will be withheld the next year.

      (2 votes)

  • KERRYD

    5 months agoPosted 5 months ago. Direct link to KERRYD's post “What could be a reason wh...”

    What could be a reason why the amount of wages in box 3 is
    \[\$2{,}500\] more than the amount of wages in box 1?

    (1 vote)

  • sherlyn.gomezcolindresa3

    3 months agoPosted 3 months ago. Direct link to sherlyn.gomezcolindresa3's post “How do you figure out thi...”

    How do you figure out things?

    (1 vote)

    • David Alexander

      3 months agoPosted 3 months ago. Direct link to David Alexander's post “You follow the instructio...”

      You follow the instructions. YOu can find instructions on how to figure out a W-2 form at the website of the internal revenue service.

      (1 vote)

  • keegan.gilsdorf

    2 months agoPosted 2 months ago. Direct link to keegan.gilsdorf's post “Information on a W-2 can ...”

    Information on a W-2 can be grouped into two groups: sections (labeled a-f) and boxes (numbered 1-20).
    What information is listed in boxes 1-20?

    (1 vote)

  • keegan.gilsdorf

    2 months agoPosted 2 months ago. Direct link to keegan.gilsdorf's post “If you want to find out h...”

    If you want to find out how much federal tax was withheld from your wages, where would you generally look on your W-2?

    (1 vote)

    • David Alexander

      2 months agoPosted 2 months ago. Direct link to David Alexander's post “Box 2 is the place.”

      Box 2 is the place.

      (1 vote)

  • Ryleigh

    2 months agoPosted 2 months ago. Direct link to Ryleigh's post “Does any information chan...”

    Does any information change depending on whether or not I was working a work-study job for college? Like once I get my W-2 from that job, should I expect less to be filled out or look out for specifics or differences in information?

    (1 vote)

  • espinoroberto156

    4 months agoPosted 4 months ago. Direct link to espinoroberto156's post “How do you figure out thi...”

    How do you figure out things

    (1 vote)

    • Samantha Jean-Louis

      a month agoPosted a month ago. Direct link to Samantha Jean-Louis's post “You could ask the company...”

      You could ask the company.

      (1 vote)

How to read a W-2 form (article) | Tax forms | Khan Academy (2024)
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