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What is W2 form?

Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, is used in the United States income tax system as an information return to report wages paid to employees and the taxes withheld from them. The form is also used to report FICA taxes to the Social Security Administration. Relevant amounts on Form W-2 are reported by the Social Security Administration to the Internal Revenue Service.

Employers must complete a Form W-2 for each employee to whom they pay a salary, wage, or other compensation as part of the employment relationship. The Form W-2 reports income on a calendar year (January 1 through December 31) basis, regardless of the fiscal year used by the employer or employee for other Federal tax purposes.

The form consists of six copies:

  • Copy A - Submitted by the employer to the Social Security Administration. (In addition, the employer must also submit Form W-3, which is a summary of all Forms W-2 completed, along with all Copies A submitted. The Form W-3 must be signed by the employer.)
  • Copy B - To be sent to the employee and filed by the employee with the employee's federal income tax returns.
  • Copy C - To be sent to the employee, to be retained by the employee for the employee's records.
  • Copy D - To be retained by the employer, for the employer's records.
  • Copy 1 - To be filed with the employee's state or local income tax returns (if any).
  • Copy 2 - To be filed with the employee's state or local income tax returns (if any).

Employers are instructed to send copies B, C, 1, and 2 to their employees generally by January 31 of the year immediately following the year of income to which the Form W-2 relates, which gives these taxpayers about 2 1/2 months before the April 15 income tax due date. The Form W-2, with Form W-3, generally must be filed by the employer with the Social Security Administration by the end of February.

More Information

  • How to prepare, print, and efile W2 forms by yourself?

  • Sample printed W2 forms

  • Form W-2

  • IRS Instruction W-2 & W-3

  • Where To File W-2

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