What box on the Form W-2 do I use to determine my income to go on
my tax return? What are all of these other boxes for? Does the amount from
any other box go anywhere on my tax return?
For most people, only the amount in box 1 (wages, tips, other compensation)
needs to be reported as income on your tax return. If you are an employee
who receives tips, you may have to include the amount from box 8 (allocated
tips) as income on your return.
Any employer-provided dependent care benefits listed in box 10 that are
not excludable from income must be reported as wages on Form 1040 (PDF) or Form 1040A (PDF). Any credit taken
for child and dependent care expenses must be reported on your return. Refer
to Form 2441 (PDF), or Form 1040A, Schedule 2 (PDF) Child and Dependent Care Expenses, to determine
the amount, if any, of the exclusion or credit.
Employer-provided adoption benefits that must be used to complete Form 8839 (PDF), Qualified Adoption Expenses, appear in box
12 with a code T. Employer contributions to a medical savings account (MSA),
which you report on Form 8853 (PDF), Medical
Savings Accounts and Long-Term Care Insurance Contracts, also appear
in box 12 with a code R. Employer-provided benefits may be taxable as compensation
under certain conditions. Refer to the relevant form instructions.
If you received advanced earned income credit payments from your employer
(box 9), you must include the amount on your individual income tax return Form 1040 (PDF) or Form 1040A (PDF).
The other boxes either display information that the employer wanted to
provide to you, or contain information that must be reported to the Social
Security Administration or to the IRS.
Should Line 10, Dependent Care Benefits, of my Form W-2 be included
when calculating my income?
A portion of the amount in Box 10 of the Form W-2 (PDF) may
be includable in your income. Please refer to the Form 2441 Instructions, Child and Dependent Care Expenses, 1040A filers refer
to Form 1040A, Schedule 2 (PDF), Child and
Dependent Care Expenses for 1040A Filers to determine how much, if any,
of the dependent care benefits may be excluded. If you meet the requirements
described in Form 2441 (PDF), Child and Dependent
Care Expenses, you may be able to exclude all or part of dependent care
benefits provided under a qualified employer plan. However, this amount is
reduced or eliminated if your earned income (or your spouse's earned income)
is less than the annual exclusion amount, or if your child is not under age
13. Any benefits that exceed the exclusion limit are also includable in your
income, and your employer should have included these amounts in Boxes 1, 3,
and 5 of your Form W-2 (PDF) in addition to reporting
these amounts in Box 10. The amount you can exclude is figured and claimed
by completing Part III of Form 2441 (PDF) or Schedule
2 of Form 1040A (PDF).
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