What is the Difference Between W 2 form and W 4 form?

Last Revised on December 19, 2009

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Both W-2 and W-4 forms are tax forms issued by your employer or company you work for per se. You can easily obtain a copy of both of these from your job if you lost or need them for any reason. Both of these has to do with state and federal taxes. So what’s the difference between the the w-2 and w-4 form?

W 4 form is the kind that your employer gives to fill out when you first got hired there. In that form, you fill out how much money you want to keep or in other words the employee withholding allowances, how many dependents you have or want to include under your name – they could be your kids and spouse. W-4 form affects your income because the information you provide in there will reflect the deduction or no deduction from your pay check. It is recommended that you consider completing a new form W-4 each year and when your personal or financial situation changes.You can change any information you added into this any time; just notify your boss and he or she will help reflect those changes in your next pay stub.

Now w-2 form is bit different, although it too is provided by your work place. Your work place company sends you and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) authorities this form through mail at the end of the year, usually at the beginning of January. This w 2 form is prefilled with information about the total amount of money you made, that is both gross and net wages or salaries of that fiscal year, number of dependents you claimed, state and federal taxes you paid, social security and medicare, etc. You keep this form for yourself because it contains information that you need when filing the tax return. IRS has all the same information but they still want you to include them when doing taxes; it could be because they don’t have enough resource such as workers and technology to go through ever single taxpayer in the United States.

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2 Responses to “What is the Difference Between W 2 form and W 4 form?”

  1. I used to help people file tax return on paper; now I recommend free efile Says:
    December 31st, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    The difference between the w-2 and w-4 forms are very simple if you think about them like this: w2 is filled out in order to let the employer and the IRS know that how much allowances employee wants to keep on his paychecks and adjust payroll deductions, whereas the purpose of w2 is just simply reporting how much money the employee made that year. Therefore, our work prepares w2 for you and you prepare w4 on your own. I hope this explanation doesn’t confuse anyone and helps.

    Yeah, thank you your contribution. I would also like to add that you will never have to worry about filling out w4 once you do it during the orientation at your job unless your marital status changed or you want to change your payroll adjustments. And w-2 form is also something we as a taxpayer and employee don’t worry much about because it is all taken care of my our employer; they send this form to our mailing address somewhere during the beginning of the new year.

  2. Anita Sangstrom Says:
    January 4th, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Do you need both of these tax forms if you are working from home? I mean what if you don’t have like a secured job or company to work for?

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