Adulting 101

What’s a W-2 and what do I do with it?


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Mckenzie Kerrigan, Managing Editor

New year, new classes, and new resolutions aren’t the only thing starting this January. As we approach the new year we also approach tax deadlines. For those unaware, January 31st is the deadline for W-2s. For those that do not know what that means or what to do, follow along in our first segment of Adulting 101.

Covering the Key Terms

Before we jump into filing and processing, let’s cover some key terms that will make understanding the tax process easier. Common terms you may hear are W-2s, filing, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and tax return. To put it simply:

W-2s: An IRS form (electronic or paper) sent to you by your employer. It holds all data on your income, benefits, and taxes your employer withheld your previous work year. This form will be used to prepare for your tax return, and is due January 31st unless the IRS has specified otherwise.

Tax Return/ Filing: Another document that’s already been filed by a tax authority, and it will report your income, expenses, and other financial data. This aids in the process of refunds, refunds and scheduled payments that come after your W-2s.

IRS: This is the government agency that runs the taxes. For any questions or general information, their website provides you with exemptions, what counts or doesn’t count and general instructions.

How and Where do I get a W-2?

Any person who has worked in 2021, signed an I-9 form and received payment under a payroll will have a W-2. When applying for jobs you give employers a designated, permanent address and email. 

Usually, W-2s will be sent to your permanent home address or via electronic mail. These should arrive to you by the 31st of January, however, if you or your guardian don’t receive these there may be an issue. 

The next step is to call your place of employment and ask when they will be sent out, and it is best to double check your sending address to ensure your W-2s arrive at the correct address. This can be done by contacting human resources, a manager, or even an in-person visit can aid in the process.

I Secured my W-2s

Keep in mind copies of your W-2 are sent to all kinds of important tax agencies like the IRS, Social Security, and even your local tax authorities. However, once you or whoever is in charge of your taxes gets your W-2s, you can use the form as an insight to how much you made, and what went towards retirement plans or benefits. 

After reviewing your forms, and checking for mistakes as well, you can begin organizing and preparing your taxes. But, that’s a lesson for another time…