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Today's News and Features

Double Check Your W-2 for Tax Time

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Tax time is nearing, and those of us receiving a W-2 should begin thinking about filing. To help, the American Payroll Association offers the following tips to ensure your Form W-2 is accurate.

Be Aware of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The amount of income tax withheld from your paycheck may have changed in 2018 because of the new tax legislation. The APA and IRS partnered on messaging about the impact of the new tax law in Publication 5330, The New Tax Cut Law Will Impact Your 2018 Tax Return. This may result in a smaller refund or even a bill from the IRS. The IRS recently announced in Notice 2019-11 that it will waive the estimated tax penalty for any taxpayer who paid at least 85 percent, instead of the usual 90 percent, of their total tax liability during the year.

Determine withholding for next year. To determine if you should adjust the amount taken from your paycheck for taxes moving forward, use the IRS' updated Withholding Calculator. To make a change, submit a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, to your employer.

Request all W-2s. You should receive a Form W-2 from each employer you worked for in 2018. If you do not receive your W-2s by February 5, contact the company's payroll department to request a "reissued statement."

If you earned $600 or more from a single company for freelance or contract work, you’ll receive Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, instead of Form W-2.

Social Security Number (SSN) matches your Social Security Card. Double check that the Social Security Number on your W-2 matches your Social Security card. If not, call your employer's payroll department to send a corrected W-2.

Compare your final 2018 pay stub to your W-2 form. Items to review on your W-2 form:

A. Box 1 may differ from the year-to-date gross pay shown on your final 2018 paystub if you participated in a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored savings plan.

B. Box 3 should not exceed $128,400 – the 2018 Social Security wage base.

C. Boxes 1, 3 and 5 will be different from the year-to-date gross pay listed on your final 2018 paystub if you used pre-tax dollars to pay insurance premiums, transit benefits or flexible spending accounts.

Check tax credits. Read the back of your W-2 copy B to determine your eligibility for tax credits. The result could be thousands of dollars from the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Source: American Payroll Association

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