W-2 Vs. W-4 Explained – Forbes Advisor


The IRS Form W-2 is an employee’s Wage and Tax Statement. You fill this out for each employee who was paid at least $600 for the tax year and file it with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

A W-2 form records how much an employee was paid in wages, tips, other compensation and benefits from your business as well as the amount of federal, state and local income tax and Social Security and Medicare tax withheld. You file it with the government as a record of compensation and taxes and you distribute it to employees to help them fill out their tax returns.

You have to fill out, file and distribute a W-2 form for every employee you paid at least $600 in a given tax year, even if they no longer work for your business at the time you’re filing.

You can file and distribute forms electronically or mail paper forms. Many payroll services, such as Gusto and Justworks generate, file and distribute W-2 forms automatically.



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