A W-2 form is a statement that must be prepared by employers each year for employees, showing the employee's total gross earnings, Social Security earnings, Medicare earnings, and federal and state taxes withheld for the employee.
The W-2 form is a multi-part form:
- Copy A goes to the Social Security Administration. Copy A is usually printed on a red form.
- Copy 1 is for the city, state or locality
- Copy B is for filing with the employee's federal tax return
- Copy C is for the employee's records
- Copy 2 is another copy for a city, state, or locality
- Copy D is for the employer's records.
A copy of the W-2 forms for all employees, plus a consolidated report on Form W-3, must be sent to the Social Security Administration each year.
W-2 forms also provide information about deductions for employee benefit plans and other deductions that must be reported on the employee's income tax return.
The W-2 Form must be provided to employees no later than the end of January, with information from the previous calendar year. Copies of all employee W-2 forms, along with transmittal form W-3, must be sent to the Social Security Administration by the end of February each year.
Still confused about Form W-2? Answers to Your Questions About 2011 W-2 Form