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Comptroller's Office
University of Pennsylvania
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[ Payroll Tax ]

W-2 Breakdown

To have a much better understanding of the breakdown of your W-2 Form, here is an explanation of the contents of the various boxes as follows:

Box a: Employee's social security number.
This is your Social Security Number. If the number is incorrect, please provide your Social Security card to the Tax Department. The Tax Department will update and issue a corrected W-2 Form.

Box b: Employer identification number (EIN).
This is your employer’s unique tax identification number.

Box c: Employer's name, address, and ZIP code.
This identifies the name, address, city, state, and zip code of your employer.

Box d: Control number.
This is a code that identifies this unique W-2 Form document in your employer’s records.

Box e: Employee's name.
This identifies your full name (first name, middle initial and last name).

Box f: Employee's address.
This identifies your address, city, state, and zip code.

Numbered Boxes on W-2 form:
Box 1: Wages, tips, other compensation.

Reports your total taxable wages or salary for federal income tax purposes. This figure includes your wages, salary, tips reported, bonuses and other taxable compensation. Any taxable fringe benefits (such as group term life insurance) are also included in your Box 1 wages. Box 1 does not include any pre-tax benefits such as savings contributions to a 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan, health insurance, or other types of pre-tax benefits.

Box 2: Federal income tax withheld.
Reports the total amount withheld from your paychecks for federal income taxes. This represents the amount of federal taxes you have paid-in throughout the year.

Box 3: Social security wages.
Reports the total amount of wages subject to the Social Security tax for 2014. The Social Security tax is assessed on wages up to $117,000. This limit is called the Social Security wage base.

Box 4: Social security tax withheld.
Reports the total amount of Social Security taxes withheld from your paychecks. The Social Security tax is a flat tax rate of 6.2% on your wage income, up to a maximum wage base of $117,000 (for 2014). Wages above the Social Security wage base are not subject to the Social Security tax. Accordingly, the maximum figure shown in Box 4 should be $7,254 ($117,000 maximum wage bases times 6.2%). If you have two or more jobs during the year and your total Social Security wages (box 3) exceeds $117,000, you may have paid-in more Social Security tax than is required. You claim the excess Social Security tax withholding as a refundable credit on your Form 1040.

Box 5: Medicare wages and tips.
Reports the amount of wages subject to the Medicare tax. There is no maximum wage base for Medicare taxes.

Box 6: Medicare tax withheld.
Reports the amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck for the Medicare tax. The Medicare tax is a flat tax rate of 1.45% on your total Medicare wage under $200,000. Employees whose Medicare wages are over $200,000 will be subject to an additional withholding for the Additional Medicare Tax at a rate of 0.9% on Medicare wages over the $200,000. This is a rate of 2.35% on all Medicare wages over $200,000.

Box 10: Dependent Care benefits.
Reports any amounts reimbursed for dependent care expenses through a flexible spending account or the dollar value of dependent care services provided by your employer. Amounts under $5,000 are non-taxable benefits. Any amount over $5,000 is reported as taxable wages in Boxes 1, 3, and 5.

Box 12: Deferred Compensation and Other Compensations.
There are several types of compensation and benefits that can be reported in Box 12. Box 12 will report a single letter or double letter code followed by a dollar amount.

Code C: Taxable benefit of group term-life insurance over $50,000. This amount is included as part of your taxable wages in Boxes 1, 3, and 5.

Code E: Non-taxable elective salary deferrals to a 403(b) retirement plan.

Code G: Non-taxable elective salary deferrals and non-elective employer contribution to a 457(b) retirement plan.

Code M: Uncollected Social Security or RRTA tax on taxable group term life insurance over $50,000.

Code N: Uncollected Medicare tax on taxable group-term life insurance over $50,000.

Code P: Non-taxable reimbursements for employee moving expenses.

Code T: Employer paid adoption benefits. This amount is not included in Box 1 wages. Use form 8839 to calculate the taxable and non-taxable portion of these adoption benefits.

Code W: Employer and employee contributions to a Health Savings Account. Report this amount on Form 8889.

Code Y: Salary deferrals under 409A non-qualified deferred compensation plan.

Code Z: Income received under 409A non-qualified deferred compensation plan. This amount is 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 BB: After-tax contributions to a Roth 403(b) retirement plan.

Code DD: Reports the cost of non-taxable health insurance provided through your employer.

Box 13: Checkboxes.
There are three check boxes in Box 13. The only box that may be checked off that applies to you as an employee of the University is the Retirement Plan.

Retirement plan means that you participated in your employer’s retirement plan during the year. This might be a 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan, SEP-IRA, SIMPLE-IRS, or other types of pension plan. If you participate in a retirement plan, your ability to deduct contributions to a traditional IRA may be limited based on your income.

Box 14: Other Tax Information.
Your employer may report additional tax information in Box 14. If any amounts are reported, they will have a brief description of what the amounts are for. For example, SUT represents the amount of State Unemployment Tax which was withheld from your earnings during the year.

Box 15: State and State Employer’s Identification.
Reports your employer’s state and state tax identification number.

Box 16: State wages.
Reports the total amount of taxable wages earned in that state.

Box 17: State income tax withheld.
Reports the total amount of state income taxes withheld from your paychecks for the wages reported in Box 16.

Box 18: Local wages.
Reports the total amount of wages subject to local income taxes.

Box 19: Local income tax withheld.
Reports the total amount of taxes withheld from your paychecks for local income taxes.

Box 20: Locality name.
Provides a brief description of the local tax being paid

If you have tax related questions, such as amounts on form, please email
If you have reporting questions, please consult with a tax professional.

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