Understanding Your W-2

by Julie on January 28, 2013 · 15 comments

I spent some time this weekend preparing W-2s and 1099s for my husband’s business, so I had W-2s on the brain when I ran across this infographic from H&R Block (a great Kansas City company, by the way).

I thought it was timely since most of us are receiving W-2s at this time of year. It does a great job of breaking down what’s included, in a colorful, visual way.

And who couldn’t use a little color with their taxes on a Monday?

Click image to see a larger versionUnderstanding Your W2 FormThe Complete Guide To The W-2 Form via H&R Block

Have you started work on your taxes yet?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer @ Decorated Chaos January 28, 2013 at 8:11 am

I am an accountant (not a cpa though) and I do our taxes myself-always have except for one or two random years and I kicked myself in the butt after paying someone a LOT of $ to do what I could have done myself had I taken the time.

This is a great post-very informative! Esp for those not so savvy with finance. I love your blog and the topics you post about. And P.S. I am from Kansas City too and a lot of my friends work for Block so I’m glad to see you mention that in your post. :)


Julie January 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Hi Jennifer. Thanks for your comment. It’s nice to hear from another KC girl.


Teresa January 28, 2013 at 9:23 am

I have a big envelope where I stuff the tax forms that come in the mail and things I’ve collected through the tax year. That is all the further I’ve come so far. (Tax time is my least favorite time of year!) But for the first time, we got two W-2s from my husband’s employer. We think one is because of the health saving plan. Do all HSA get a separate W-2? Just curious!


Julie January 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Hmmm…I don’t know, Teresa. All the info I found said HSAs are reported in Box 12 of the W-2. I can’t find anything about a separate W-2, but I’m not a tax professional of any kind.


Teresa January 28, 2013 at 12:54 pm

No worries. I let someone else figure out all that stuff for me. I just fill the shoe box and hand it off!


Daniel January 28, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I’ve started my taxes with TurboTax already, I know about what my refund will be ($3,000!), but I’m waiting for a few more forms to come in that might actually increase that a little. I got pretty close to paying what I owe over the year, I actually was expecting to make a $5,000 estimated tax payment, so the refund I’m owed is a pretty significant change from that!


Julie February 3, 2013 at 2:32 pm

What are you going to do with your windfall, Daniel?


Brenda January 28, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I’m one of those odd people who enjoys the challenge of doing her own taxes with the help of TurboTax, so I started on my taxes Saturday night. I worked one season at H&R Block, and that has saved me so much money over the years both from the standpoint of feeling confident enough to do my own somewhat complicated taxes and just from the general tax knowledge that I gained.


Julie February 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Brenda, I don’t do our taxes, but I enjoy getting everything together for the CPA and filling out the organizer. I must be odd like you. How did you like your season working for H&R Block? Every year I think I should take the class and give it a try!


Wayne@ Young Family Finance January 30, 2013 at 7:44 pm

This is far easier on the eyes than the traditional version! Of course, if it were sent out looking like this, more people may be tempted to do their own taxes. I am not sure if that would be a good or a bad thing.


Julie February 3, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Good point, Wayne. I think if it came out looking like this, more people would understand where their money went, and that can only be a good thing.


Integrator February 5, 2013 at 6:49 am

Wow, this was a nice clear illustration of all the major components of a W2. I do my own taxes, but I use HR Block’s Best of Both service, which is a second look at my taxes. Its half the cost of getting them to do the whole thing (I save money on my own data entry), but gives me the comfort that I have someone scanning for deductions i may have missed. They caught an extra $500 last year, which more than paid for the extra cost of the service!


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