HR’s Guide to the Form W-2

If you’ve been in HR for any number of years, you know year-end payroll can be a challenge. Much of that is due to the the Form W-2, or Wage and Tax Statement. This critical IRS document summarizes employees’ annual compensation and deducted taxes, and it is the primary form used when individuals file their annual tax returns. It might also be used by third parties to validate someone’s earnings, like in the case of applying for an apartment or mortgage. In other words, getting the form right matters—which is why over two-thirds of midsize companies just outsource the task altogether.
 

Come the January 31 deadline for distributing the forms, don’t be surprised if employees mistake you for a tax advisor. Whether their questions concern specific numbers or the seemingly random codes that populate Box 12, individuals will likely come to you first.
 

Get ahead of employee questions with Namely’s Guide to the Form W-2. From Box A to 20, we’ve broken down what each section of the form means and all the nuances you need to consider. Field questions like a certified pro—without giving any tax advice, of course.