How to Read your W2
How to Read Your W-2
- Box 1 – Wages,tips, other compensation
- Box 2 – Federal income tax withheld
- Box 3– Social security wages
- Box 4– Social security tax withheld
- Box 5 – Medicare wages and tips
- Box 6 – Medicare tax withheld
- Box 8 – Dependent care benefits
- Box 12 – List of codes
- Box 11 – Retirement plan indicator
- Box 17 – State wages and taxes
Boxes 1 and 2
- You must first add together your year-to-date (YTD) earnings, including taxable benefit earnings. This is found in the "Hours and Earnings" section of your pay stub. Note: The total YTD earnings line in that section of your pay statement does NOT include any taxable benefits listed in the earnings section. They must be added to your total YTD gross pay.
- To that total, add any YTD taxable "Employer Paid Benefits" indicated by an asterisk (*) in that section of your pay statement.
- Lastly, subtract all YTD "Before-Tax Deductions". The amount remaining is equal to your Federal Taxable Gross reported in Box 1 on your Form W-2.
Boxes 3 and 4
- Dependent Care Reimbursement
Boxes 5 and 6
- Dependent Care Reimbursement
- Code C — Cost of group term life insurance over $50,000, included in boxes 1, 3, 5, and 16. This amount is indicated by an asterisk (*) in the "Employer Paid Benefits" section of your pay statement.
- Code D — Elective deferrals into 401(k) cash or deferred arrangement. This includes those enrolled in Thrift Savings Plan and UMP 401(k) Deferral Plan.
- Code E — Elective deferrals into section 403(b) salary reduction agreement. This is the total paid to the Optional Retirement Plan.
- Code G — Elective deferrals and employer contributions (including nonelective deferrals) to a section 457(b) deferred compensation plan.
- Code J — Non-taxable sick pay. This amount is not included in taxable wages in Boxes 1, 3, or 5.
- Code H — Section 501(c)(18)(D) tax-exempt organization plan. See "Adjusted Gross Income" in form 1040 instructions for how to deduct. This includes the GCIU Pension deduction.
- Code P — Excludable moving expense reimbursements paid directly to employees (not included in boxes 1 and 16).
- Code W — Employer contributions to a health savings account (HSA). This code shows any employer contributions (including amounts the employee elected to contribute using a section 125 (cafeteria) plan) to an HSA.
- Code DD – Reports the cost of health insurance provided through your employer.
Box 13 is the Retirement Plan indicator. If the "Retirement Plan" box is checked, special limits may apply to the amount of traditional IRA contributions you may deduct. The Retirement Plan box will be checked if you are an active participant in the following plans:
Minnesota State Retirement System
Teachers Retirment Association
Public Employees Retirement Association
Optional Retirement Plan (See Code E in box 12 above)
Boxes 15, 16, and 17
Box 15 indicates the State for which your wages and taxes in boxes 16 and 17 are being reported. The University of Minnesota withholds income taxes for the state of Minnesota as well as the three reciprocal states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Dakota. If you had income taxes withheld for more than one state, the wages and taxes for each state will show separately.
To determine the total shown in Box 16, see instructions for Box 1, Wages, tips, other compensation. If you had wages for more than one state, the total of all state wages will equal your federal taxable gross as shown on your pay statement.
Box 17 equals the year-to-date State Withholding as shown in the "Taxes" section on your pay statement.
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