Why do you need it?
- If you’re an employer
The IRS requires that employers withhold taxes from employees’ paychecks throughout the year, and subsequently pay those taxes to the IRS. The IRS requires that companies file a W2 Form for each employee to document all wages paid and tax withheld. Additionally, companies are required by law to provide W2s to every employee on an annual basis.
- If you’re an employee
If you are an employee, you are entitled to an annual W2 from your employer. These are usually made available to you in the early part of each calendar year, and will be used when you file your annual tax return.
Tips and instructions for use
Many online W2 templates use the IRS’ “information only” copy, which has the second page printed in red. Do not file this red version with the IRS or you will be subjected to penalties. Instead, be sure to use the official version of the W2 Form approved for submission to the IRS. This copy will have all pages printed in black, and is available via the link on this page.
Completing the W2 Form is a straightforward process. You’ll need to have the employee’s name, social security number, wage information, address, and the amount of income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax withheld.
Note that you need to submit a copy of each employee’s W2 to the Social Security Administration. This cannot be done using a W2 form template. Instead, you will need to fill out the forms on the SSA’s website.
If you need guidance when completing and filing your W2 Forms, use the IRS’ official guide, “General Instructions for Forms W2 and W3”, available from the IRS website.
Remember to complete and file W2 Forms for every employee each year. Forms are usually due to your employees by the end of January every year.