“Wage and Tax Statement” or W-2 Form is an official Internal Revenue Service (IRS) document that states an employee’s previous year’s income, tax, and other data. In simple words, the W-2 form contains employees’ financial information based on their workplace and employer.
An employer must send the W-2 Form to their employees and a copy to the IRS by January 31. If failed to do so, it can result in heavy penalties.
The form helps employees to prepare their state and federal tax returns because it contains information about their salary or wages, withheld tax, medical insurance, etc.
Moreover, a W-2 form is an essential document for all employees. Employees can keep track of their tax history through the form, as it determines the amount they are required to pay or the refund amount they are eligible for.
What Information is Present in the Form W-2?
You can find the following information in the Form W-2:
Income or earnings information (including tips)
Withheld state or federal taxes from employee’s salary
Withheld Compensation Plans, retirement programs, or benefits for dependents provided by the employer
Employee’s name, Social Security Number (SSN), and address
Employer’s name, EIN, address, and State ID
Who Should Receive a W-2 Form?
It is mandatory for employers to provide all permanent employees with a W-2 Form. They can send it online or by mail, which may take a week to reach an employee.
Employers are not obliged to provide self-dependent employees, freelancers, or contractual workers with a W-2 Form. Instead, they will receive their income statement on the “1099 Form.” As for a permanent employee, if the employer has paid an employee a minimum of $600 throughout the year, they are eligible to get a W-2 Form.
Additionally, employers must provide the W-2 Form to any third-party organization providing additional pay, such as sick pay.
When Should Employers Send W-2 Forms?
Employers must send out the W-2 Forms to their employer by 31 January. It does not always mean employees will receive their W-2 Forms that day. To ensure an employee receives the W-2 Form on time, the IRS requires employers to send out the forms early.
Employers can apply for an extension of 30 days for filing information to the IRS and the Social Security Administration (SSA) by providing an 8809-Form (Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns). But, the employers must send out W-2 Forms to the employees.
If required, an employer can file for a 15-day extension on the W-2 Form sent out to employees by sending an application to the IRS.
How to Get a W-2 Form?
If an employee has not received their W-2 Form by the end of the first week of February, they need to check with their employer about it. An employee should check if the company sent it to the correct address and then ask for a copy of the form from the employer. Then, the employer will inform them how to contact the Human Resources or Accountant Division for the W-2 Form.
IRS: Employers submit a copy of the Tax Return and the W-2 Form to the IRS. You can contact the IRS to get a copy of your W-2 For. But, if your employer has submitted an electrical form, you won’t be able to get it.
However, the IRS provides Income and Wage Transcripts that have an employee’s salary information, so an employee can easily request the IRS for it. But don’t mistake it for a W-2 Form.
Social Security Administration (SSA): SSA can provide a free copy of an employee’s W-2 Form because the form is sent to them first, and then they forward it to the IRS. The free copy only applies for Social-Security reasons, and a fee of $81 is required for others.
1. Is the W-2 Form available online?
No, an employee cannot acquire W-2 Forms online unless the company has a website to provide the employees with access to the forms.
2. How can I fill up my taxes if I don’t receive a W-2 Form?
If you haven’t received a W-2 Form from your employer and your tax deadline is closing in, just estimate your salary and additional benefits for the year and submit it. By contacting the IRS, you can later fix the amount when you receive your Form W-2.