The Complete Guide to the W-2 Form [INFOGRAPHIC]

January 10, 2013 : Matthew Staub - Past Contributor

‘Tis the season for W-2 Forms to arrive in your mailbox! We’ve been seeing quite a few questions about how to read a W-2 on our Facebook page; here are some quick & simple answers to the most common:

Do I really need my W-2 Form to file my taxes?

Yes, you need your W-2 to file taxes. You cannot file your taxes using your last pay stub; you must have your W-2 form. However, you can estimate your refund, prepare for your appointment and come into an office to get started on your taxes using information from your last pay stub — but you cannot file without the information on your W-2 form.

When will my W-2 Form arrive?

Employers are typically required to issue Form W-2 by January 31st. If you have moved or have concerns about the form getting to you, contact your employer as soon as possible to ensure your information is up to date. With the first day of filing season pushed back to January 30th, there’s a good chance you’ll receive your W-2 by the time you need it.

You may also be able to have an electronic copy your W-2 sent to an H&R Block office so we can have it ready for you when you come in for your appointment — visit W-2 Early Access to find out if your employer participates.

What do I do if I don’t receive my W-2 Form?

If you have not received your W-2 by the end of January, contact your employer to find out if and when the W-2 was mailed.
If you do not receive your W-2, you may then contact the IRS for assistance at 800-829-1040. From there, you will follow the steps listed here on IRS.gov.

What information is on my W-2 Form?

Check out the graphic below for a guided tour of the W-2.

Click image to see a larger version

Like this infographic? Use the code below to embed it on your site:

Related Topics

Related Resources

IRS Letter 257C – We Corrected Your Name or Taxpayer Identification Number

The discrepancy between your name and your Taxpayer Identification Number has been corrected. Learn more from the tax experts at H&R Block.

Six Reasons You Might Have Gotten a Notice Instead of Your Refund

Didn't get your expected tax refund? Learn about six possible reasons for this unexpected change from the tax experts at H&R Block.

IRS Field Audit

A field audit is a face-to-face examination. Read the IRS definition and get more insight from the tax experts at H&R Block.

Employment Tax Returns

Do you have unfiled Form 941's, 940's, or 944's? Read the IRS definition of employment tax returns and get more insight from the experts at H&R Block.

Matthew Staub - Past Contributor

Matt is a social media strategist and past blog contributor. He's a lover of cities, travel, mass transit, bicycles, food, and beer.