November 24, 2020

What's a W2 Form?

What’s a Form W2?

If you’re paying an employee, you need to report all compensation for that employee on a Form W-2. You’ll need to send each employee a W-2 and also send a copy to the IRS and Social Security Administration (SSA). The W-2 reports an employee’s annual wages and the amount of taxes withheld from their paychecks. The employee’s tax withholding amounts are based on the elections they made on their IRS Form W-4 when they started their job.

Employers are required to send W-2s before January 31st of the following year to allow ample time for the employer to prepare their taxes. For example, if you’re sending W2s for 2020, you’d need to get them out before January 1st of 2021.

In total, you’ll prepare six copies of the W-2 for each employee. Here’s what you’ll do with each copy:

There’s plenty more information about W2s on the IRS website. If keeping track of where to submit all six forms makes you uncomfortable, you can use a payroll service like Spring, which files the forms for you.

Disclaimer: Any articles written on this website, including this article, are not to be taken as legal or HR advice. Employment laws are constantly changing and vary by location and industry. You should consult a lawyer or HR expert for guidance. Need HR advice? We can help!

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