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The W-2 Form is a standard Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form that employers are required to furnish employees at the end of each year.

The W-2 is a summary of the payroll amounts and taxes that were paid to the employee in the applicable tax year.  The W-2 tells the employee what the employer reported to the IRS with regard to the employee’s gross wages, federal withholding tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, and any state and local income taxes that were withheld.

The W-2 also includes amounts such as payments made for nonqualified benefit plans and dependent care benefits.  For employees who receive tips from a tip pool, there is a box on the W-2 for allocated tips. 

Employees use the W-2 as a starting point in preparing their individual income tax return.  For taxpayers who file their return on paper, a copy of the W-2 must be attached to the front of the tax return. For e-filers, the W-2 information is transmitted along with the electronic version of the return. 

W-2 is sometimes confused with Form W-4.  Form W-4 is a form employees complete and give to their employer to set the federal withholding tax amount for their paycheck. W-2s are prepared by the employer. 

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