Understanding W2 VS W4 Forms


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires you to fill out payroll tax forms if you work for a business. These forms notify your employer how much tax to deduct from your income. The W-4 is this. To report your income and deductions to the IRS, your employer must also complete a tax form. The W2 vs W4 is that. Let’s examine these two forms, the W2 and the W4, their features, their timing, and their similarities and contrasts. In an effort to pay only what you truly owe and nothing more, think about consulting with a financial expert.

What is a W-2?

A W-2, or Wage and Tax Statement, is an IRS document that summarizes your income and the amount of taxes withheld by your employer. At the end of each year, employers provide W2 vs W4 forms to employees so they may record their earnings for tax purposes. The employer fills out these forms and includes details about earnings, bonuses, and gratuities. Annual payroll deductions are made for recurring taxes, including social security, Medicare, state, and federal income taxes. The employer frequently includes additional compensation, such as retirement benefits paid on the employee’s behalf.

For each employee you pay at least $600 in a given tax year, even if they are no longer employed by your company at the time of filing, you must complete, submit, and distribute a W-2 form.

Forms can be mailed on paper or submitted online for distribution and filing. Numerous payroll providers, including Justworks and Gusto, automatically create, file, and deliver W-2 forms.

Key Components of a W-2 Form:

Employee Information: 

The employer’s identification number includes in this area together with the employee’s name, address, and Social Security number.


The W-2 form details the employee’s total earnings for the tax year, which includes gratuities, bonuses, and salaries.

Tax Withholdings: 

This shows how much is deducted from an employee’s paycheck each year for federal, state, and local income taxes.

Additional Benefits and Compensation: 

This area may cover supplementary benefits and compensation including employer-paid healthcare or contributions to retirement schemes.

What is a W-4?

This certificate of employee withholding is IRS Form W-4. This form is filled out by an employee when they are hired and again if their filing status or withholding should change. It tells you how much tax to deduct from their paychecks.


An employee can disclose to you their status as a head of household, single, married filing jointly, or married filing separately on this form. They will state if they have a working spouse, claim dependents, work multiple jobs, and any additional withholding. Your employees might additionally need to complete a state-specific W-4 form, depending on your state, in order for state income taxes to be deducted from their paychecks. 


Your payroll or human resources (HR) department gathers these documents for their records. In order to calculate the appropriate amount of tax to deduct from an employee’s paycheck.

Key Components of a W-4 Form:

Personal Information: 

Employees must include their name, address, and Social Security number on the W-4 form, just like on the W-2 form.

Filing Status:

As a requirement, Employees have to disclose their filing status, which has an impact on the amount of tax withheld. Examples of these statuses are single, married filing jointly, and head of household.


On their W-4 form, employees can submit allowances, which aids in determining the amount of tax withheld from their pay. Withholding tax will decrease as more allowances are claimed.

Extra Withholding: 

Workers can ask for extra withholding on the W-4 form if they believe they will owe more in taxes than the deducted tax from their income.

Differences Between W-2 Vs W-4 Forms:

The first difference between W-2 and W-4 forms is who completes the paperwork and when. The employee fills out a W-4 form when they take a new employment, or at any point thereafter if they choose to modify their filing status or stop receiving allowances. At the conclusion of each tax year, the employer provides the employee with a W-2, which is a statement of income and withholdings for that particular tax year.

While the W-2 is an end-of-year reporting document that contains the employee’s wages, tips, and other forms of compensation, tax withholdings, the amount of Social Security and Medicare taxes paid’ as well as retirement contributions, the W-4 shows the employee’s identifying information, marital status, dependents, and withholding allowances.

The worker receives and files a copy of the W-2 with the Social Security Administration.. There is no tax agency filing for the W-4.


In conclusion, the W-2 and W-4 forms have different functions in the tax procedure even if their names may sound the same. The W2 vs W4 form provides an overview of an employee’s earnings and tax withholdings, while the W-4 form assists in determining how much federal income tax should be withheld from an employee’s paycheck.. It is crucial to understand the differences between these forms in order to manage your taxes and guarantee that you are in accordance with the law.


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