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Reports and info about W-2 and W-3 forms

Learn about the W-2, box 12 codes, and W-3 reports in Intuit Online Payroll and Quickbooks Online Payroll.

Want to know what information is reported on your employee’s W-2, or what a certain box code means? Here’s where you’ll learn about W-2 reported information, and a few reports in your payroll account to help make sure each W-2 is accurate.

Form W-2

Form W-2, called the Wage and Tax Statement is used to report wages paid to employees and the taxes withheld from them. The form is used to report Social Security and Medicare taxes to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Employers must complete a W-2 form for each employee to whom they pay a salary, wage, or other compensation, as part of the employment relationship. The W-2 form reports income on a calendar year (January 1 through December 31), regardless of the fiscal year. Check here for more information on the W-2 form and how it’s handled in Intuit Online Payroll.

Need to print a W-2, see How to print W-2 forms.

What are W-2 box 12 codes?

Box 12 codes report special information to the IRS and other agencies about the tax and wage data on your W-2.

Note: There are some >pay types and deductions that are not supported in Intuit Payroll.

Form W-2 Box 12 CodesCompensation and Benefits
Code AUncollected Social Security or RRTA tax on tips. Include this amount as part of your total tax on Form 1040.
Code BUncollected Medicare tax on tips. Include this amount as part of your total tax on Form 1040.
Code CTaxable benefit of group term-life insurance over $50,000. Already included as part of your taxable wages in Boxes 1, 3, and 5.
Code DNon-taxable elective salary deferrals to a 401(k) or SIMPLE 401(k) retirement plan.
Code ENon-taxable elective salary deferrals to a 403(b) retirement plan.
Code FNon-taxable elective salary deferrals to a 408(k)(6) SEP retirement plan.
Code GNon-taxable elective salary deferrals and non-elective company contributions to a 457(b) retirement plan.
Code HNon-taxable elective salary deferrals to a 501(c)(18)(D) tax-exempt plan.
Code JNon-taxable sick pay. This amount is not included in taxable wages in Boxes 1, 3, or 5.
Code KExcise tax (equal to 20%) on excess "golden parachute" payments. Include this amount as part of your total tax on Form 1040.
Code LNon-taxable reimbursements for employee business expenses.
Code MUncollected Social Security or RRTA tax on taxable group term life insurance over $50,000 for former employees. Include this amount as part of your total tax on Form 1040.
Code NUncollected Medicare tax on taxable group term life insurance over $50,000 for former employees. Include this amount as part of your total tax on Form 1040.
Code PNon-taxable reimbursements for employee moving expenses, if the amounts were paid directly to the employee.
Code QNon-taxable combat pay. Some individuals may elect to include combat pay when calculating their Earned Income Credit.
Code RCompany contributions to an Archer Medical Savings Account. This amount should be reported on IRS Form 8853.
Code SNon-taxable salary deferral to a 408(p) SIMPLE retirement plan.
Code TEmployer paid adoption benefits. This amount is not included in Box 1 wages. You must use IRS Form 8839 to calculate the taxable and non-taxable portion of these adoption benefits.
Code VIncome from the exercise of non-statutory stock options. This amount is already included as taxable income in Boxes 1, 3, and 5. See also, how to report stock options.
Code WCompany contributions to your Health Savings Account. Report this amount on IRS Form 8889.
Code YSalary deferrals under 409A non-qualified deferred compensation plan.
Code ZIncome received under 409A non-qualified deferred compensation plan. This amount is already included in taxable wages in Box 1. This amount is subject to an additional tax of 20% plus interest as part of your total tax on Form 1040.
Code AAAfter-tax contributions to a Roth 401(k) retirement plan.
Code BBAfter-tax contributions to a Roth 403(b) retirement plan.
Code DDCost of employer-sponsored health care coverage
Code EEDesignated Roth contributions under a governmental section 457(b) plan.
Code FFUsed to report the total amount of permitted benefits under a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA). These new QSEHRAs allow eligible employers to pay or reimburse medical care expenses of eligible employees after the employees provide proof of coverage.
Code GGIncome from qualified equity grants under section 83(i).
Code HHAggregate deferrals under section 83(i) elections as of the close of the calendar year.

Troubleshooting box amounts

W-2

Common reasons why the amounts will change:

  • Box 1 - Wages, tips, other compensation
    • Retirement plans reduce the amount in this box.
    • Cash and paycheck tips are added to this box.
    • S-Corp owners health insurance, group term life insurance (GTLI) taxable amounts, and personal use of company care (PUCC) are considered taxable and added to this box.
    • Pretax medical, vision, and dental plans will reduce the amount in this box.
    • Flexible spending accounts (FSA) and pretax health savings accounts (HSA) will reduce the amount in this box.
  • Box 3 - Social security wages
    • Group term life insurance (GTLI) taxable amounts and personal use of company care (PUCC) are considered taxable and added to this box.
    • Pretax medical, vision, or dental plans will reduce the amount in this box.
    • Flexible spending accounts (FSA) and pretax health savings accounts (HSA) will reduce the amount in this box.
  • Box 5 - Medicare wages and tips
    • Cash and paycheck tips are added to this box.
    • Group term life insurance (GTLI) taxable amounts and personal use of company care (PUCC) are considered taxable and added to this box.
    • Pretax medical, vision, or dental plans will reduce the amount in this box.
    • Flexible spending accounts (FSA) and pretax health savings accounts (HSA) will reduce the amount in this box.
  • Box 12
    This box will include amounts from:
    • Nontaxable per diems
    • Group term life insurance (GTLI) taxable amounts
    • Company health savings accounts (HSA)
    • Pretax health savings accounts (HSA)
    • Retirement plans (401(k), 403b, SAR SEP, etc..)
  • Box 14 - Other
    This box will include amounts from:
    • Clergy housing (cash or in-kind)
    • Personal use of company care (PUCC) taxable amounts
    • S-Corp Owners Health Insurance
  • Box 16 - State wages, tips, etc
    • In most cases, this will match Box 1 however, some state agencies treat wages and deductions differently than the IRS. Check with your state agency for questions about the taxability of certain items.

Want more info about your W-2 boxes?

There are many details that can be reported on the W-2 form, if you want to learn more see W-2 form boxes explained.

IRS W-2 sample forms

W-3 Printing and Reporting

With Intuit Online Payroll W-3s are automatically created when your W-2s are filed. Form W-3 is a form employers only include when filing paper W-2 forms with the SSA. For more information about how Intuit handles W-3s see Form W-3: Printing and reporting.

IRS W-3 sample forms

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