The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (2024)

Employee-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (1)

Employee-related data

a.Employee’s social security number

Your employee’s social security number.

TIP:
The SSA lets you verify employee names and SSNs online or by phone.

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b.Employer identification number (EIN)

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (2)

Employer-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (3)

Employer-related data

b.Employer identification number (EIN)

This is your IRS-assigned Employer Identification Number (00-0000000), which you used on your federal employment tax returns.

TIP:
If you do not have an EIN when filing, write “Applied For” in box B. You can get an EIN online at www.irs.gov.

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d.Control number

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (4)

Rarely filled out or optional data

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Rarely filled out or optional data

d.Control number

Be sure to only use this box to identify or archive individual W-2 forms.

TIP:
You do not have to use this box.

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1.Wages, tips, other compensation

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (6)

Employee-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (7)

Employee-related data

1.Wages, tips, other compensation

This amount is everything you paid your employees during the tax year (before payroll deductions), such as wages, tips, bonuses, and commissions.

TIP:
Remember: Do not include employee contributions to a section 401(k) or 403(b) plan.

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2.Federal income tax withheld

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (8)

Employee-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (9)

Employee-related data

2.Federal income tax withheld

This is the total federal income tax held from your employee's wages for the year.

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3.Social security wages

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (10)

Employee-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (11)

Employee-related data

3.Social security wages

This is all of your employee’s wages that are subject to employee social security tax, excluding tips.

TIP:
Keep in mind that social security wages top out at $113,700, so the total of boxes 3 and 7 should not be more than this amount.

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Employee-related data

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Employee-related data

4.Social security tax withheld

Your employee’s portion of all social security tax withheld, including social security tax on tips.

TIP:
Remember that the tax rate for social security is 6.2%.

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5.Medicare wages and tips

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Employee-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (15)

Employee-related data

5.Medicare wages and tips

The same wages and tips in box 3 are also subject to Medicare taxes. The only difference is that there’s no wage base limit for Medicare tax.

TIP:
Remember to include any tips that employees reported, whether or not you have the employee funds to collect the Medicare taxes on them.

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6.Medicare tax withheld

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (16)

Employee-related data

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Employee-related data

6.Medicare tax withheld

For this box, include all of your employee’s withheld Medicare tax, as well as any extra Medicare tax. Be sure to exclude your share.

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7.Social security tips

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Employee-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (19)

Employee-related data

7.Social security tips

This is the total amount of tips your employee reported to you, regardless of whether you have enough employee funds to collect the social security tax for the tips.

TIP:
Remember that social security wages top out at $113,700, so the total of boxes 3 and 7 shouldn’t exceed this amount.

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8.Allocated tips

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (20)

Employee-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (21)

Employee-related data

8.Allocated tips

If your business is in the food or beverage industry, show the tips allocated to the employee.

TIP:
Don’t include this amount in boxes 1, 3, 5, or 7.

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9.Verification code

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (22)

Rarely filled out or optional data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (23)

Rarely filled out or optional data

9.Verification code

If you are e-filing and there is a code in this box, enter it when prompted by your software. This code assists the IRS in validating the W-2 data submitted with your return. The code is not entered on paper-filed returns.

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (24)

Employer-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (25)

Employer-related data

10.Dependent care benefits

Complete this box only if you have paid for benefits, such as child care, to your employee.

TIP:
Include any amounts more than $5,000 in boxes 1, 3, and 5.

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11.Nonqualified plans

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Employee-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (27)

Employee-related data

11.Nonqualified plans

This box allows the SSA to decide if any of the amounts reported in boxes 1, 3, or 5 were earned in a prior year—just to make sure they have paid the right amount.

TIP:
This is where you should include distributions made to an employee from a nonqualified plan or nongovernmental section 457(b) plan in box 1. Leave out anything related to special wage payments, such as sick or vacation pay.

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12.See instructions for box 12

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Employee-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (29)

Employee-related data

12.See instructions for box 12

Use this box to record compensation with special tax qualifications, such as 401(k) contributions. Keep in mind that you must use the IRS code designated for that item.

TIP:
You should not write more than four items in this box. If you need more space to record more than four items, use a separate W-2 form.

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13.Statutory Employee, Retirement Plan, Third-Party Sick Pay

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (30)

Employee-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (31)

Employee-related data

13.Statutory employee, retirement plan, third-party sick pay

Check all that apply:

Statutory employees: These are full-time employees who pay social security and Medicare taxes, but no federal income tax.

Third-party sick pay: Check this only if you are an employer reporting third-party sick pay payments.

Retirement plan: Check this only if an employee is participating in your retirement plan.

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14.Other

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (32)

Rarely filled out or optional data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (33)

Rarely filled out or optional data

14.Other

This is for additional taxes or deductions that are not covered elsewhere.

TIP:
These are things such as withheld state disability insurance taxes, union dues, nontaxable income, educational assistance payments, etc.

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15.Employer’s state ID number

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Employer-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (35)

Employer-related data

15.Employer’s state ID number

This is your state identification number.

TIP:
Don’t forget to keep information for each state and locality separated by the broken line. If you need to report more than two states or localities, you can always use a second W-2 form.

NEXT

16.State wages, tips, etc.

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Employee-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (37)

Employee-related data

16.State wages, tips, etc.

Your employee’s total state taxable pay, if it applies. This may or may not be the same as box 1.

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17.State income tax

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (38)

Employee-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (39)

Employee-related data

17.State income tax

Your employee’s total state income tax withheld.

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18.Local wages, tips, etc.

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (40)

Employee-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (41)

Employee-related data

18.Local wages, tips, etc.

Your employee’s total locally taxable gross pay, if it applies. This may or may not be the same as box 1 or 16.

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19.Local income tax

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Employee-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (43)

Employee-related data

19.Local income tax

The local tax withheld from your employee’s pay, if any.

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20.Locality name

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (44)

Employer-related data

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (45)

Employer-related data

20.Locality name

The name or code from where the local area wages and/or tax is being reported.

CONTINUE

The W2 Form: How to Understand and Fill Out a W2 | QuickBooks (46)

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