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About IRS Form W-2

Last updated Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The IRS Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement (PDF) reports all taxable wages paid to and taxes withheld from an employee during the calendar year, the January 10 payday through the December 25 payday. It includes details of employee and employer contributions to a variety of tax-related benefits such as retirement and savings plans, medical and dental, flexible spending account and others.

The Federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) also requires employer‐sponsored medical and dental costs to be reported on both the W-2 and 1095 forms.

You can access recent Forms W-2 in Workday. Form W-2s for years prior to 2017 can be found on UW’s Legacy ESS, accessed via the Personal Information worklet in Workday.

Your Form W-2 is usually made available in Workday after the first payday in January. Paper forms for active employees will be distributed on the second payday in January. Paper forms for separated or inactive employees will be mailed to the home address listed in Workday by the end of January.

Form W-2 Breakdown

Box # Name Description
Box 1 Wages, Tips, Other Compensation This is reportable federal taxable wages (total gross wages less all pre-tax items such as: medical premiums, dependent care, flexible spending, health savings account, parking, and Retirement plans PERS, UWRP, VIP, Deferred Comp, LEOFF & TRS). This amount does include taxable employer provided benefits, such as tuition assistance benefits, gift certs, etc.
Box 2 Federal Income Tax Withheld Total amount of Federal tax withheld, including additional withholding.
Box 3 Social Security Wages Total amount of reportable wages less pre-tax items which are not subject to Social Security taxes such as: medical premiums, dependent care, flexible spending, health savings account, parking. Retirement plans are not pre-tax items for Social Security tax purposes and are included in the reportable total. There is an annual maximum of Social Security wages subject to tax.
Box 4 Social Security Tax Withheld Total amount of Social Security tax withheld. There is an annual maximum of this tax each year.
Box 5 Medicare Wages and Tips Total amount of reportable wages less pre-tax items which are subject to Medicare taxes such as: medical premiums, dependent care, flexible spending, health savings account and parking. Retirement plans are not pre-tax items for Medicare tax purposes and are included in the reportable total. There is no yearly limit for Medicare wages.
Box 6 Medicare Tax Withheld Total amount of Medicare tax withheld. There is no yearly limit for Medicare tax withheld.
Box 7 Social Security Tips This category is not applicable to UW.
Box 8 Allocated Tips This category is not applicable to UW.
Box 10 Dependent Care Benefits Total amount of dependent care withheld. Excludible amount allowed under Internal Revenue Code Section 129.
Box 11 Nonqualified plans This category is not applicable to UW
Box 12 “See instructions for box 12”
  • Code E – Elective deferrals to an IRS Section 403(b) (VIP contributions)
  • Code G – Elective deferrals and employer contributions (including non-elective deferrals) to a Section 457(b) deferred compensation plan
  • Code P – Excludable moving expense reimbursements paid directly to employee (not included in boxes 1, 3, or 5). Effective for tax year 2018, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), signed into law in December 2017, removed this deduction.
  • Code W – Employer contributions (including amounts the employee elected to contribute using a section 125, cafeteria plan) to your health savings account. Report on Form 8889, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
  • Code BB – Designated Roth contributions under a Section 403(b) plan
  • Code DD – Cost of employer-sponsored health coverage. This amount reported with Code DD is not taxable. For more information: Tax Information and Your Benefits – FAQ.
Any contributions to PERS & UWRP, LEOFF & TRS plans are mandatory contributions, not elective deferrals and will not be itemized in this box. They are exempt from taxation and have been accounted for in Box 1.
Box 13 Retirement Plan This will be checked if enrolled in any basic retirement plan.
Box 14 Other
  • UnionDues – Union dues (prior-year tax forms may show this as UND). Effective for tax year 2018, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), signed into law in December 2017, removed this deduction.
  • CombFunDr – Charitable contributions to the Combined Fund Drive (prior-year tax forms may show this as CFD)
  • ORSTT – Oregon State Transit Tax
Box 15 Name of State and Employer state ID number For Employees working outside of Washington State only. Employee’s tax residence state.
Box 16 State Wages, Tips, etc. For Employees working outside of Washington State only.  Total of reportable state taxable wages.
Box 17 State Income Tax For Employees working outside of Washington State only.  Total amount of state tax withheld, including additional withholding.
Box 18 Local Wages, tips, etc. For Employees working outside of Washington State only. Total reportable state local wages.
Box 19 Local Income Tax For Employees working outside of Washington State only. Total amount of local tax withheld.
Box 20 Locality Name For Employees working outside of Washington State only. Locality code.