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Intuit
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W2 form boxes explained

Learn about each box on the W2, and how QuickBooks Payroll fills them in.

Learn how QuickBooks Desktop and Online payroll populates the boxes on the IRS Form W-2. We define each box and field on the W2 form, and how QuickBooks fills each in.

For the IRS instructions of each line, refer to the General Instructions for Forms W-2 and W-3.

Online

  • You can print Forms W-2 on either plain, standard printer paper or blank perforated W-2 paper.
  • Run a Payroll Details Report and a Tax and Wage Details Report. In QuickBooks Online, Select Reports  and search for Payroll Details Report or Tax and Wage Detail Report. Filter by year and the employee, then select Run Report.

Desktop

  • Be sure to purchase W-2 paper that works with the payroll service you are currently using. If you are unsure which type of paper to use, go here. Select Order W-2 Tax Kits. On the Business Tax Forms & Products page, select the correct W-2s based on your payroll service.
  • Update your tax tables in QuickBooks Desktop prior to printing your W-2s to ensure that the correct dates appear on the forms.
  • If you have Basic, Standard, or Enhanced Payroll, you may want to run a Payroll Checkup.
  • Run a Payroll Summary Report. In QuickBooks Desktop, select Reports then Employees & Payroll, then Payroll Summary. Set the dates for the calendar year affected.

This box is not checked.

QuickBooks uses the employee's Social Security number from the employee's record to fill in this box.

To verify the Employee social security number in your QuickBooks

  • Online: Select Workers then Employees tab and select the employee name to access their Employee details. Select Edit Employee to update the employee information.
  • Desktop: Select Employee Center then Employees tab and double-click the name to access the Personal Info tab where you can edit the Social Security number.

QuickBooks pulls this information from the EIN (Federal Employer Identification Number) field.

To verify your EIN in QuickBooks

Depending on your payroll service, you may need to contact us to change your EIN. Note that if you're using QBFSP, there's no way to view your EIN within QuickBooks.

  • Online (QBOP only): Select the Gear icon at the top then Payroll Settings > Federal Taxes. Under Federal Tax Setup, update your EIN.
  • Desktop: To change your EIN, select Company then My Company. Select the edit icon and the Company Information tab. Enter the correct EIN in the Federal Employer Identification Number field and select OK. You will have to create a new form once you've changed your company EIN.

How QuickBooks populates this line

  • Online: QuickBooks Online pulls this information from the data provided in the Company General Tax Information window (QBOP) or data provided at the start of the service (QBFSP).
  • Desktop: QuickBooks Desktop pulls this information from data provided in the "Legal Information" section of the company information window.

To verify your Employer name and address in QuickBooks

  • Online (QBOP only): Select the Gear icon, then Payroll Settings, then General Tax information. Under Company General Tax Information, update your Filing Name and Filing Address.
  • Desktop: From the Company menu, select My Company. Select the edit icon then go to the Contact Information and Legal Information tabs to make any necessary correction to the address, then select OK. You’ll have to create a new form once you've changed your company address.

QuickBooks does not supply this information.

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks uses the First Name, M.I., and Last Name and Home Address fields in the employee record to fill in the employee's name and address for you. The name in the employee record should match the name on the employee's Social Security card. If you have used "Jr.," "Sr.," or any similar suffix, that information will appear at the end of the employee's last name.

To verify your QuickBooks result

  • Online: Select Workers then the Employees tab and select the employee name to verify their Employee details. Select Edit Employee to update the employee information if needed.
  • Desktop: Select the Employee Center, then the Employees tab and double-click the name to edit if needed.

When an employee's name changes (e.g., marriage or porce), have the employee contact any Social Security office to get a new Social Security card.

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks calculates the total wages, tips, bonuses, overtime pay, etc., that are subject to federal income tax, and paid to the employee during the reporting year. Wages earned in the reporting year, but paid in the following year, are not included. Certain deductions that are not taxable to federal income tax such as 401(k), pre-tax medical, fringe benefits, etc., can affect this box. Click to learn about the Taxability of pay types and deductions how they affect this box.

To verify your QuickBooks result

  • Online:
    1. Select Reports and search for the Payroll Details Report.
    2. Filter by year and the Employee, then select Run Report.
    3. Review the wages and deductions paid to the employee.
  • Desktop:
    1. Run the Payroll Item Listing report.
    2. Filter the report. In the columns, clear everything except the Payroll Item and Tax Tracking Type.
    3. Print the report.
    4. Put a check mark next to any item that has a tax tracking type of Compensation, Reported tips, dependent care FSA, Section 457 Distribution, Non-qual. Plan Distr., Fringe Benefits, Other Moving Expenses, 401(k), 403(b), 408(k)(6)SEP, Elective 457(b), Simple IRA, Taxable Grp Trm Life, Med Care Flex Spend, Premium Only/125, SCorp Pd Med Premium.
    5. Now run a Payroll Summary report for the calendar year.
    6. Select Customize Report.
    7. Select the Filters tab.
    8. Under Current filter choices, select Payroll Item.
    9. In the drop-down box in the middle, choose Multiple Payroll Items. Check off all the payroll items you marked earlier. If any of them are incorrect, the tax tracking type needs to be modified.

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks calculates federal income tax withheld from the employee's wages.

To verify your QuickBooks result

  • Online: Run a Payroll Details Report. Look for the FIT amount and compare the numbers.
  • Desktop: Run a Payroll Summary report for the entire calendar year. The number is equal to the amount of the Federal Withholding item. This number can be double-clicked to see what transactions contribute to the total.

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks calculates the total wages subject to employee Social Security tax, not including Social Security tips (box 7) or allocated tips (box 8), up to the maximum amount.

To verify your QuickBooks result

  • Online: Run a Payroll Details Report for the entire year. Look at the pay amount minus any deductions not subject to Social Security. Refer to this article for more information about the Taxability of pay types and deductions how they affect this box.
  • Desktop: Run a Payroll Summary report and double-click on the amount of Social Security Employee for the employee in question. The number is equal to the wage base total minus the wage base tips total.

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks calculates the amount of Social Security tax withheld from the employee's wages (box 3) and tips (box 7), up to the maximum amount.

To verify your QuickBooks result

  • Online: Run a Payroll Details Report for the entire year. Look at the amount of Social Security tax withheld.
  • Desktop: Run a Payroll Summary report for the entire calendar year. The amount for Social Security Employee will be equal to the number in this box. The amount can be double-clicked to see what transactions contribute to the total.

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks calculates total gross wages subject to Medicare tax, not including allocated tips (box 8).

To verify your QuickBooks result

  • Online: Run a Payroll Details Report for the entire year. Look at the pay amount minus any deductions not subject to Medicare. Refer to this article for more information about the Taxability of pay types and deductions how they affect this box.
  • Desktop: Run a Payroll Summary report for the entire calendar year. Double-click on the amount of Medicare Employee. This is the total of the wage base column.

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks calculates the amount of Medicare tax (including any Additional Medicare Tax) withheld from the employee's wages (box 5) for the year. It uses two items for this calculation: Medicare Employee and Medicare Employee Addl Tax.

To verify your QuickBooks Desktop result

  • Online: Run a Payroll Details Report for the entire year. Look at the amount of Medicare tax withheld.
  • Desktop: Run a Payroll Summary report for the entire calendar year. The number is equal to the amount of Medicare Employee plus the amount of Medicare Employee Addl Tax. The amounts can be double-clicked to see what transactions contribute to the total.

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks populates the amount of employee-reported tips.

To verify your QuickBooks result

  • Online: Run a Payroll Details Report for the entire year. Look at the amount of Cash Tips.
  • Desktop: Run a Payroll Summary report for the entire calendar year. The number is equal to the amount of the Reported Tips item (any item that has a tax tracking type of Reported Tips). You can double-click the amount to see what transactions contribute to the total.

How QuickBooks populates this line

Enter in box 8 of the W-2 Worksheet the total of tips allocated to the employee based upon IRS Form 8027.

To verify your QuickBooks result

Starting 2018

How QuickBooks populates this line:

QuickBooks leaves this box empty.

How QuickBooks populates this line:

QuickBooks populates deductions for Dependent Care FSA, including amounts in a Section 125 (cafeteria) plan, up to the annual limit.

To verify your QuickBooks result:

  • Online: Run a Payroll Details Report for the entire year. Look at the amount of Dependent Care FSA you withheld.
  • Desktop: Run a Payroll Summary report for the entire calendar year. The amount for Dependent Care FSA and Co. Paid Dep. Care will be equal to the number in this box. You can double-click the amount to see what transactions contribute to the total.

How QuickBooks populates this line:

  • Online: This box is not supported
  • Desktop: QuickBooks calculates Section 457 distributions in box 11 based upon payroll items used on employee paychecks.

To verify your QuickBooks result:

  • Desktop: Run a Payroll Summary report for the entire calendar year. Review the amount distributed to employees. You can double-click the amount to see what transactions contribute to the total.

How QuickBooks populates this line

Box 12 is the total of any amounts that fit into these categories or codes. Refer to this article for more information about the Taxability of pay types and deductions how they affect this box. QuickBooks automatically enters in this box based on items used on paychecks.

To verify your QuickBooks result:

If you think this number is incorrect, review the Payroll Summary Report (Desktop) or the Payroll Details Report (Online). Make sure the items used on paychecks are set up correctly and the correct amounts were used.

How QuickBooks populates this line:

  • Online: See below
  • Desktop: Check the Special Situations box on the Step 1 Interview screen to activate the Special Situations interview screen.

Statutory employees

  • Online: not supported
  • Desktop: QuickBooks Desktop automatically marks this checkbox when you choose Statutory in the Type field on the employee's record. Although you can manually check or override the Statutory employee checkbox on the employee's W-2 Worksheet, we recommend that you change the Type selection on the employee's record to ensure that the tax settings are correct for the employee.

Retirement plan

QuickBooks checks this box if one or both of the following is true: 1) The employee's paycheck contained payroll items with any of the following tax tracking types: 401(k), Roth 401(k), 403(b), Roth 403(b), 408(k)(6) SEP, 501(c)(18)(D), or SIMPLE Retirement. 2) The Employee is covered by a qualified pension plan box is checked on the employee record.

Third-party sick pay

  • Desktop: QuickBooks Desktop checks this box if you complete the Third Party Sick Pay Interview screen. To access it, you must check Yes in the Special Situations box on Step 1 of the Interview, and then indicate sick pay recipients on the next screen.
  • Online: Contact us to add Third-party sick pay.

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks reports any of the following information in this box:

Tax Type Online Supported? Desktop Supported?
CA SDI, for California SDI contributions Yes Yes
CA VDPI, for California Voluntary Disability Plan contributions No Yes
NJ SDI, for New Jersey SDI contributions Yes Yes
UI/HC/WD, for New Jersey welfare insurance contributions Yes Yes
Union Dues, for union dues deductions No Yes
Health Ins, for health insurance premiums deductions Yes Yes
*Nontax Inc, for nontaxable income No Yes
*Contrib, for voluntary after-tax contributions No Yes
*Ed Asst, for educational assistance payments No Yes
Clergy Housing, for a member of the clergy's parsonage allowance and utilities Yes Yes

*Desktop: require a special tax tracking type of Other.

If the employee is subject to withholding for state disability insurance (SDI) or state unemployment insurance (SUI), QuickBooks Desktop automatically enters the amount withheld in this box. (For New Jersey, QuickBooks Desktop enters four separate lines for the four withheld employment taxes.) QuickBooks Desktop also enters a line for each payroll item with tax tracking set to Other, Fringe Benefits, Moving Expenses, and SCorp Medical Premiums.

If you pay your SDI to a private agency (in any state other than Hawaii or New York) and use a Deduction payroll item rather than an SDI payroll item, be sure that you set the tax tracking type for the payroll item to Other.

To verify your QuickBooks result

If you think this number is incorrect, review the Payroll Summary Report (Desktop) or the Payroll Details Report (Online). Make sure the items used on paychecks are set up correctly and the correct amounts were used.

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks automatically fills in this box based on an employee’s taxable wages calculated in the individual states. It enters a separate line for each state. (If an employee had tax withheld for more than two states, multiple-page W-2s will be produced.).

To verify your QuickBooks result

  • Online (QBOP only): Select the Gear icon at the top then Payroll Settings > State Taxes. Under the Withholding Setup, update the Account Number.  Note that if you're using QBFSP,  there’s no way to view or edit your employees state IDs.
  • Desktop: Review the payroll item setup. Select Employees then Manage Payroll Items, then View/Edit Payroll Item List. Open the payroll item and click next to review the ID number.

How QuickBooks populates this line:

QuickBooks populates the total wages, tips bonuses, overtime pay, etc., that are subject to state income taxes and paid to the employee during the reporting year. Wages earned in the the reporting year, but paid in the following year, are not included. Certain deductions that are not taxable to state income tax such as 401(k), pre-tax medical, fringe benefits, etc., can affect this box. Refer to this article for more information about the Taxability of pay types and deductions how they affect this box.

If the employee receives wages subject to taxes in a second state, the amount appears below the amount for the first state. If an employee had taxable wages for more than two states, QuickBooks prints a multiple-page W-2.

To verify your QuickBooks result:

  • Online: Run a Payroll Details Report for the entire year. Review the wage and deductions paid to the employee
  • Desktop: Run a Payroll Summary report for the entire calendar year. Double-click the amount for the state withholding in question. The amount here is equal to the total of the wage base column.

How QuickBooks populates this line

QuickBooks populates this amount based on taxes withheld in an individual state. If the employee receives wages subject to taxes in a second state, the amount appears below the amount for the first state. If an employee had taxable wages for more than two states, QuickBooks prints a multiple-page W-2.

To verify your QuickBooks result

  • Online: Run a Payroll Details Report. Look for the SIT amount and compare the numbers. Consider the taxability of items that are not taxable to state income tax.
  • Desktop: Run a Payroll Summary report for the entire calendar year. The number is equal to the amount of the state withholding in question. This number can be double-clicked to see what transactions contribute to the total.

How QuickBooks populates this line:

QuickBooks calculates this amount only if you have entered local times items on the employee profile. If you withhold more than one local tax from the employee's paychecks, each tax appears on a separate line. If an employee had more than two local taxes withheld, QuickBooks prints a multiple-page W-2.

To verify your QuickBooks result:

  • Online: Run a Payroll Details Report. Look for the local wages amount and compare the numbers. Consider the taxability of items that are not subject to to local tax.
  • Desktop: Run a Payroll Summary report for the entire year. Double-click on the amount of the local income tax in question. This amount is equal to the total of the wage base column.

How QuickBooks populates this line:

QuickBooks populates this box based on local tax items from employee paychecks. If you withhold more than one local tax from the employee's paychecks, each tax appears on a separate line. If an employee had more than two local taxes withheld, QuickBooks prints a multiple-page W-2.

To verify your QuickBooks result:

  • Online: Run a Payroll Details Report for the entire year. Review the wage and deductions paid to the employee.
  • Desktop: Run a Payroll Summary report for the entire year. The amount is equal to the item that tracks the local income tax (any item with a tax tracking type of Local Income). If this amount is incorrect, you will have to do a liability adjustment. Learn more about Payroll Summary reports.

How QuickBooks populates this line:

The name you assigned to the item in the employee's record for tracking local withholding taxes goes here. If you withhold more than one local tax from the employee's paychecks, each locality appears on a separate line. If an employee had more than two local taxes withheld, QuickBooks prints a multiple-page W-2.

To verify your QuickBooks result:

  • Online (QBOP only): If you believe the locality is populated wrong, you can make updates.  Select the Gear icon at the top then Payroll Settings > Local Tax Code. Under the Edit Local Tax Codes for W-2's, make your updates.  Note that if you're using QBFSP, you cannot view or edit your locality name.
  • Desktop: If you believe the locality is populated wrong, you can update the employee profile. Select the Employee Center then the Employees tab. Double-click the name to edit then select  Payroll Info tab > Taxes > Other. Choose the local tax item and update the wording next to Print on W-2 as.

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