If you’ve ever been somebody’s employee, you’ve probably noticed that every January or February, you receive a form with a lot of little boxes on it in the mail. It’s not a bill — it’s a W-2, and every employer that paid you at least $600 during the year has to send you one.
The W-2 form, formally called the “Wage and Tax Statement,” details your compensation from an employer. Don’t confuse it with your W-4 — that’s the form you use to tell your employer how much tax to withhold from your paycheck every pay period. And notice the key word here: employer. Freelancers or contract workers get 1099s from their clients, not W-2s.
The W-2 form is really important. For most people, the information on it determines whether they’re getting a refund or writing a check in April. Here are six things you need to know about how to handle it.continue reading »