Do You Need Multiple W2 Forms From The Same Employer?


Every year, your employer sends you a W2 form so you can file your income taxes. Most of the time, the process is pretty straightforward. You receive your W2 from the employer, file your taxes, then you either pay what you owe or wait to receive a tax refund. In most cases, there’s no need for your employer to send you more than one W2 form. However, there are times where this needs to be done. 

You need to be aware of these instances to file your taxes and keep your tax record clean. That means it’s possible to get multiple W2 forms from the same employer. This article helps you understand how and why, as well as answer other questions you may have about receiving multiple W2 forms.

What is the purpose of W2?

Form W2, also known as the Wage and Tax statement, is what citizens and residents of the United States use to report income and taxes deducted in a tax year. The form is utilized by employers with several employees who have a regular pay cycle. This can be daily wages, monthly salary, or any payment as a part of an employment contract.

The W2 form needs to be sent to employees by the end of January each year. This is to afford you, as the taxpayer, enough time to prepare your income tax returns and file them by the deadline, which is usually in April. You also need the W2 for filing your Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes, normally deducted from your paycheck. 

The W2 form is what the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) formally uses to document and organize your and other employees’ earnings. It lets them know the amount of tax paid against what was withheld from your paycheck and other deductions. 

w2 form

Why did you get two W2 forms from the same employer?

There are several scenarios why you can get two W2 forms from the same employer. The first scenario is when the employer erroneously sends you two identical W2 forms. This could be merely a mistake. You need to report the issue to the IRS and send only one W2 form. In any case, it’s recommended that an employer issues only one W2 per employee.

When an employer enters two W2 forms, they risk increasing errors in entering employee details in the W2. Besides, it’s unnecessary to issue multiple W2s since the W2 form only summarizes an employee’s earnings in a tax year. Even if you worked twice or more for the same employer, your income needs to be totaled and entered in one W2 form.

However, some scenarios warrant that you receive more than one W2 form. This exception occurs when you work in more than one capacity that’s paid on different pay scales. You’ll also receive two W2 forms if you work in more than one location for the same employer. 

For instance, you’re a government employee who’s working part-time for the local government and a state school. In this case, you may get two W2 forms for the two jobs, although you’re working for the same employer. Also, some adjunct state university professors are employees of the state but may receive W2s from each university they teach as well. 

Another reason your employer may give you more than one W2 is if you work for an employment agency or if your employer has changed payroll services or ownership. The point of multiple W2s from the same employer is to enable you to report all your income.

Hopefully, this sufficiently answers the question of why you receive two W2 forms.



Dealing with multiple W2 forms from the same employer

The United States Census Bureau collected data in 2019 indicated that about 13 million Americans hold more than one job. These numbers continue to increase as many people seek to supplement their primary income. Some of these workers work different positions for the same employer.

If you include those people who have changed jobs, a significant number of people find themselves with multiple W2s at the end of the tax year. As you can see from the previous section, you may receive W2s from the same employer for different jobs or from other job locations. 

You can also receive multiple W2 forms from the same employer but various departments. This means they’ll bear different Employer Identification Number (EIN). For the latter, you need to enter each separately but file them at the same time.

Submitting your W2s is simple

There’s no need to be anxious about having multiple W2s from the same employer. For identical W2 forms down to every detail, only use one of them. You can keep the duplicate for your records. Check if the federal wage information found in boxes 1-14 is identical or blank in one of the W2 forms.

Also, check if the state information in boxes 15-17 or local boxes 18-20 is different. In this case, you need to enter both in one W2 screen. Enter all the information in the W2 form that’s most complete, and then enter the different state and local information from the other W2. If the only difference in the forms is box 12, use the information in the form that’s almost complete. 

Afterward, enter the different information in box 12 from the other W2 on the same screen. Notably, also enter the information on your health insurance on the W2 form in box 12. This sounds complicated but relatively straightforward when you have the W2 screen open. If you’re unable to enter the information, you can always seek the help of a tax expert or an accountant.


Can you file two W2 forms?

The straight answer is yes–you can file multiple W2 forms if they’re from different employers. You need to send both W2 forms to the IRS simultaneously and not separately. It’s because you have an obligation to report all your income. The amount you pay as income tax depends on your income, either from single or multiple sources.

Even if you have multiple Wage and Tax Statements, they’ll show your total revenue. But this doesn’t mean that you’ll be required to pay more tax than someone holding only one W2. However, having multiple W2s may raise the need to alter your withholding tax to reflect the withholding allowances you claim on your total earnings (more on this later).

Having two W2 forms from the same employer or different employers doesn’t raise your taxes over an individual with only one W2. All you need to do is file your paperwork appropriately. Your tax amount depends on the total earnings and not in any way with the number of W2 you file.

How multiple W2 forms impact your withholding

When you’re an employee of a company, your employer will give you a W2 form each year and multiple W2s for the reasons discussed above. But your employer will also ask you to fill out form W4. This is the Withholding allowance certificate, and you need it before filing the W2 form. You fill the W4 and hand it to your employer when you’re a new employee.

You also need the W4 form when there have been changes in your financial standing within the tax year. The changes here include divorce, marriage, new family member, loss of a spouse, or a new job. You need to mention the necessary details in the W4. This comes under-withholding allowances, and it lets your employer determine how much income tax is deductible from your paycheck.  

It’s crucial to disclose this information to the employer to accurately define your tax case and make deductions based on the stated budgets. This is especially important when you receive two W2 forms from the same employer issue.

calculator in hand

Understanding withholding allowances

Your annual tax can be influenced depending on the number of compensations in your W4. To understand withholding allowances, you first need to understand the tax withholding concept. With every paycheck, your employer deducts or withholds some amount from your paycheck. The amount covers your taxes, such that you pay them in smaller installments rather than a lump sum at the end of the tax year. 

Employers are obligated to withhold that amount for purposes of federal taxes remittance. The amount the employer withholds depends on how much money you make and the details in your W4. Whether your spouse works, your claimed dependents, and multiple jobs can affect the withholding allowance. Income information in your multiple W2s should be reflected in your W4.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, the legal inclinations, guidelines, and tax laws are the same for individuals filing multiple W2 as those with a single job or W2. Always keep yourself updated with tax updates to know how specific changes may affect your taxes and withholding allowances. Also, if you haven’t received your W2 form or forms from your employer, you must still file your income tax.

You can use available W2 generator software and use estimates from your last pay stubs. Failing to file your taxes attracts penalties and limitations to the social security services you qualify for. If your employer fails to provide the W2, you can use the substitute form 4852. You can use this until you receive your W2s.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, you should file your taxes using all the W2s you receive from the same employer to ensure accurate tax reporting.

Yes, sometimes you can receive multiple W2s from the same employer for various reasons.

Yes, the combined income and withholdings from multiple W2s may affect your tax refund or amount owed.

Yes, you need to report all the W2s you receive from the same employer to ensure accurate tax filing.

You will need to report the income and withholdings from each W2 separately on your tax return, and combine the amounts for your total income and withholdings.

While rare, it is possible to receive multiple W2s by mistake. If you believe you have received an incorrect or duplicate W2, contact your employer to verify the information.

Reasons may include working in different departments, holding multiple job titles, or having different tax-filing statuses during the year.

If you receive a corrected W2, you should use the information on the corrected W2 when filing your taxes or file an amended return if you have already submitted your taxes.

If you receive additional W2s after filing your taxes, you may need to file an amended tax return to include the information from the additional W2s.

If you lose a W2, you should contact your employer to request a duplicate copy. You cannot accurately file your taxes without all of your W2s.
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Do You Need Multiple W2 Forms From The Same Employer?
Samantha Clark

A Warrington College of Business graduate, Samantha handles all client relations with our top-tier partners. Read More

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