Form W-2 Explained

W2

Box 1: Wages, Tips, Other Compensation. This is your total taxable wages for federal income tax purposes. This figure includes your regular wages, bonuses, and any taxable fringe benefits (such as education benefits greater than $5,250), rewards and recognition, gifts, taxable moving expenses, as well as the taxable value of group-term life insurance in excess of $50,000 (see box 12, below). The amount in Box 1 will generally be the “YTD Gross” under the Summary section of your final earnings statement, minus any pre-tax deductions such as health/dental/vision insurance, flexible spending accounts and retirement and tax deferred savings plans, etc. The “YTD Gross” is the sum of the Year to Date (YTD) amounts under Hours and Earnings.

Box 2: Federal income tax withheld. This amount represents the total amount withheld from your paycheck for federal income taxes.

Box 3: Social Security Wages. This represents income subject to Social Security tax. There is a Social Security wage base each year and once you earn up to that amount, you no longer will have deductions for Social Security tax. Social Security wages are reduced by pre-tax deductions such as health/dental/vision insurances, parking and flex spending but not reduced by your contributions to a retirement plan (403b or 457.) The only applicable exceptions are CWM students working at CWM while enrolled at least half time and attending classes, as well as nonresident alien employees visiting the U.S. for a limited period on F-1, J-1, M-1 or Q-1 visas and performing services to carry out the purpose for which such visas have been issued.

Box 4: Social Security Tax Withheld. This amount represents the total amount withheld from your paycheck for Social Security taxes. The Social Security tax rate is 6.2%, and a matching amount of 6.2% is paid by CWM. The only applicable exceptions are CWM students working at CWM while enrolled at least half time and attending classes, as well as nonresident alien employees visiting the U.S. for a limited period on F-1, J-1, M-1 or Q-1 visas and performing services to carry out the purpose for which such visas have been issued.

Box 5: Medicare Wages and Tips. This represents income subject to Medicare tax. There is no maximum wage base for Medicare taxes. Medicare wages are reduced by pre-tax deductions such as health/dental/vision insurances, parking and flex spending but not reduced by your contributions to a retirement plan (403b or 457.) The only applicable exceptions are CWM students working at CWM while enrolled at least half time and attending classes, as well as nonresident alien employees visiting the U.S. for a limited period on F-1, J-1, M-1 or Q-1 visas and performing services to carry out the purpose for which such visas have been issued.

Box 6: Medicare Tax Withheld. This amount represents the total amount withheld from your paycheck for Medicare taxes. The Medicare tax rate is 1.45%, and a matching amount of 1.45% is paid by CWM. Once you earn $200,000 annually, there is an additional .9% that the employee pays which makes a total of 2.35%. The only applicable exceptions are CWM students working at CWM while enrolled at least half time and attending classes, as well as nonresident alien employees visiting the U.S. for a limited period on F-1, J-1, M-1 or Q-1 visas and performing services to carry out the purpose for which such visas have been issued.

Boxes 7 and 8: Social Security Tips and Allocated Tips. This is not applicable to CWM employees.

Box 9: Blank; Field not used.

Box 10: Dependent Care Benefits. This amount represents any amount reimbursed for dependent care expenses through a flexible spending account. CWM must report the pre-tax amount paid into a dependent care flexible spending account as part of the College’s Benefits Plan. Only dependent care benefits are reportable in this box.

Box 11: Nonqualified Plans. This is not applicable to CWM employees.

Box 12:

  • 12 C - Taxable Cost of Group-Term Life Insurance (GTL). The calculated value of group-term life insurance in excess of $50,000 that has been added into Box 1 as “other compensation”.
  • 12 E - Section 403(b) Salary Reductions. This represents your total elective deferrals to TIAA/Fidelity retirement plans.
  • 12 G - Section 457(b) Contributions. Any amount that you contributed to the Commonwealth’s Tax Deferred Savings Plan.
  • 12 P - Excludable Moving Expense Reimbursements. Non-taxable moving expenses for which you were reimbursed directly (not included in taxable wages in Box 1).
  • 12 DD – Cost of Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage. This is the cost of your employer sponsored health coverage. The amount reported is not taxable. This represents the employer paid portion of health insurance premiums and is for informational purposes only.

Box 13. The “Retirement plan” block will be checked if you contributed to any of the CWM’s tax deferred options, or if you were a participant in the CWM’s Optional Retirement Plan or the Commonwealth’s defined benefit plan through the Virginia Retirement System (VRS).  By checking the “Retirement plan” block, an employer notifies the IRS that an employee’s eligibility for a deductible Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) is limited.

Box 14. Other – This box may be used by an employer to report any additional tax information (e.g. taxable auto allowance.)

  • 14A     Employee Paid Health Premium
  • 14B     Parking Deductions
  • 14C     Others (Flex deductions and fees, VRS employee contributions)

Box 15: State/Employer’s State ID Number – This box simply reports the CWM’s state and state identification number for taxation purposes.

Box 16: State wages, tips, etc. – This amount represents the total of taxable wages earned in that state.

Box 17: State Income tax – This amount represents the total of state income taxes withheld from your paycheck for the wages reported in Box 16.

Box 18, 19 and 20: Local Wages, Local Income Tax and Locality Name – These boxes apply to out-of-state employees only, whose tax residency states collect local income taxes.