Just like the holiday season, the tax season is slowly creeping up on us, and we should be prepared. The form that most people care about is the Form W-2, which has an annual January 31st due date. If you’re someone who fills them out every year, but don’t necessarily know what they mean, we’ve created a little guide to help you out!
What Are W-2 Forms?
W-2 forms display the amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck each year. They’re used to file your federal and state taxes. Here are the basics:
- W-2 Wages And Withholding: First of all, you should only receive a W-2 if you’re an employee. If you are an independent contractor, you may be completing the same work as an employee but your earnings statement will be on a Form 1099 (we’ll cover that in an upcoming post).
- Verifying Your Name And Social Security Number: Make sure that the income you report matches the information on your W-2. If it doesn’t, the IRS will want to know why. Above all, if the name or Social Security number on your W-2 is inaccurate, you should immediately report this to your employer to correct the errors.
- Attaching Your W-2: Don’t forget to attach a copy of your W-2 when you’re getting ready to file your tax returns (it’s mandatory).
How To File
Whether you’re old school and like pen and paper or prefer the convenience of technology, there are two filing options for you to chose from.
- Electronically: https://www.ssa.gov/employer/bsohbnew.htm
- Manually: https://www.ssa.gov/employer/paperFormInstr.htm
If you think you haven’t received a tax form by the due date, here’s what to do:
- Double-check all email and physical mail
- Sign in to your payroll provider’s website (e.g. ADP) and check for any correspondence
- Check with your employer to ensure the address on file is correct (or else it could’ve been sent somewhere else)
If you still can’t find it, talk to an HR representative at your company and try to figure it out. If you’re still having issues or if the company is out of business, contact the IRS.
Patience Is Key
If we could leave you with one last bit of advice, don’t file your tax returns until you’ve received your tax reporting forms, especially when the IRS prohibits tax preparers from submitting electronic returns prior to the receipt. Be patient. Even if you think you know what’s on those forms, you don’t want to risk the problems it may cause if your numbers are off.