How Can I Tell if My W-2 Is Wrong?

by Scott Simpson; Updated September 26, 2017
W-2 tax forms are sent by the employer to the employee and the Internal Revenue Service.

A W-2 is a tax form employers send to employees at the end of the tax year. The W-2 includes information pertaining to wages and withholdings that were accumulated throughout the year. The data printed on the W-2 must be accurate because employers also send the W-2 tax forms to the Internal Revenue Service for processing — the wages and withholding information you put on your income tax return need to match what was already sent to the Internal Revenue Service.

Step 1

Review the identifying information contained on the W-2. Verify that your name is spelled correctly, the mailing address is your current address and that your Social Security number is correct.

Step 2

Compare the wages earned box to your total gross wages from the last paystub that you received in the tax year. Paystubs have year-to-date information printed on them. Find the gross wages column and look at the figure. The figure should match what is printed on the W-2 as gross wages.

Step 3

Look at the amount of tax withholdings printed on the W-2 and compare that with the year-to-date withholdings on your last paystub. The amount of year-to-date wthholdings for federal, state and local taxes that is printed on your last paystub should match what is printed on the W-2.

Step 4

Compare the amount of deductions that were taken from your pay for Social Security and Medicare. Your paystub should have the year-to-date totals, and the figure should match what is printed on the W-2 in the Social Security and Medicare boxes.

Tips

  • If you notice discrepancies between your last paystub of the year and your W-2 you should immediately contact your employer so the issue can be investigated.

    W-2 tax forms will also list other deductions that were taken from your pay. For example, if you contribute to a 401k plan, the total contribution should be listed on your W-2. This information should also be printed on your paystub and the year-to-date number should match the W-2. If this information is not on your paystub, contact your human resources official and request a breakdown of the amount of money you contributed by payroll deduction throughout the tax year.

Warnings

  • If you fail to verify the figures are correct you could end up filing an incorrect income tax return delaying any refund that is owed to you.

References

About the Author

Scott Simpson began writing professionally in 2000. He writes employee handbooks and manuals for the human resource consulting firm, Remote Control Payroll Co. Simpson holds a Bachelor of Science in airline management as well as a Master of Arts in business administration from the University of Massachusetts.

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