What is the Minimum Amount to File a W-2?

IRS Form W2

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Are you wondering if you need to file an IRS Form W-2 this year? Here’s the minimum amount an employee has to earn for an employer to need to file a W-2.

What is the minimum amount for an employer to file a W-2?

If you paid employees wages during the calendar year, you generally need to report all of their wages on a W-2. There is no minimum amount of wages that an employee has to earn before you issue a W-2. This is different from independent contractors where you typically don’t need to issue a 1099-MISC unless they earned $600 during the year.

For example, a new employee works one hour on December 31st, 2020 at minimum wage. You still need to issue them a 2020 W-2 by January 31st, 2021.

Don’t forget that you also need to file a W-3 for Social Security purposes at the same time.

What is the minimum amount for an employee to file a W-2?

As an employee, you should always include your Form W-2(s) with your tax return when you file. If you file electronically, this might include copying the information into an electronic form rather than attaching the actual form.

All of your wage income is potentially taxable, so you should include all of your W-2s when you file. You can’t ignore wages under a certain amount, and the proper way to enter them is to include each W-2 separately.

Note that in some cases, you may not be required to file a tax return. This is usually when your total income is less than the standard deduction.

Should I file a W-2 even if I don’t have to file a tax return?

Your W-2 is part of your tax return, so you wouldn’t be filing a W-2 without a tax return. However, you should save it just in case you get audited.

Even if your income is too low to need to file a tax return, there may be other circumstances where you either want or need to file a tax return.

The most common times you may need to file a tax return even when you’re under the income threshold include:

  • You had tax withheld when you’re in the 0% tax bracket and want a refund.
  • You want to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • You received the Advanced Premium Tax Credit (Obamacare Subsidy) and are required to reconcile your income.

If you have any doubts about whether you have to file a tax return or if it’s in your best interests to do so, check with a tax pro at the beginning of tax season.

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