Decoding Your W2 Forms with a Payroll Expert | Part 1: Boxes 1 through 9

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Personal taxes are intimidating. The rules are unnecessarily complex, difficult to understand, and many of them will change before you file your next round of taxes in 2019.  However, one document that has stayed fairly consistent, and will most likely continue to do so, is form W2. This form is required by your employers to document your annual wages and taxes from your paychecks. It’s good to understand how your paychecks are reflected in your W2 forms, so in this two-part series, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the information on W2 forms.

The first place to start when you receive your W2 is with your personal information.  It’s important to make sure that your name and social security number (box a) on the form is correct. Next up…

W2 Forms: Box 1 and Box 2

W2 boxes 1 and 2
Box 1 shows your Federal Income Tax Wages for the year, and Box 2 shows the amount withheld from those wages for the year.  Based on IRS guidelines, this will include all paycheck dates from January 1st through December 31st of the W2 year. The pay period of the check is unimportant; what matters for W2 forms purposes is the actual check date.

Federal Income Tax

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