Decoding W-2 Copy Requirements

There are various ‘Copies’, or parts, of a W-2 form, each with a different name. Although they will have the same information about the employer and employee, earnings and withholdings, each copy is given to a different entity. This ensures correct reporting during the income tax filing process.

W-2 Forms are filled out by the employer and provided to the employee or a government agency.

Each employee will receive multiple copies of their W-2.
That information is used to prepare their individual income tax return and include a copy of the W-2 when it is filed. A copy for their files is also provided.

The employer files W-2s with the federal government, as well as state and local tax agencies where required. They also keep a copy for their business records.

Only states that collect a state income tax require a copy of W-2 Forms. Likewise for cities and local tax agencies. See which states require a W-2 below
in this blog post.

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W-2 Form Copy Information


4-Part
(federal only)


6-Part
(federal & state)


8-Part
(fed, state & local)

Employer Copies
W-2 Copy A
(file to Federal Government)

X

X

X

W-2 Copy D
(employer’s file copy)

X

X

X

W-2 Copy 1
(file to state/city/local Government)

X

X

Employee Copies
W-2 Copy B
(file with Federal tax return)

X

X

X

W-2 Copy C
(employee’s file copy)

X

X

X

W-2 Copy 2
(file with state/city/local tax return)

X

X

Federal and State Filing Requirements

4-Part  (federal filing only, no state reporting is required)

Alaska, California, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wyoming

6-Part (federal and state filing is required)

8-Part NOTED WITH * (federal, and state filing is required, and local filing may be required)

Alabama*, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware*, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky*,
Louisiana, Maine, Maryland*, Massachusetts, Michigan*, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri*, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North
Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio*, Oregon, Pennsylvania*, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin

Don’t forget to file a W-3 Form for each employer’s batch of W-2 Copy A Forms.

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W-2 Copy Information for Employees and Employers

Read about 1099-MISC Form Copy Requirements>


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