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Areas to review in your W-2 before filing

If you notice that your return amount is drastically different than what you expected, you should check to make sure you entered your W-2 information correctly.

Go to this section in Credit Karma Tax: W-2

Here are some of the issues you may see if your W-2 was entered incorrectly:

Issues from entering your W-2

Your refund or tax due amount is way too high

Whether you’re receiving $500,000 in refunds, or you’re owing that amount on your tax return, you know this value can’t be right. Double-check your wages and withholdings entered on all your W-2s (Boxes 1-7) to make sure all your information is accurately listed. Entering an extra number will throw off the refund or balance due on your tax return. If your refund or taxes due looks abnormally high, you can also review your tax forms to pinpoint any discrepancies.

Name isn’t updated on record

If your name changed during the past year and it no longer matches with your W-2, that’s okay! The W-2 just needs to match your social security number (SSN) with the Social Security Administration. If you would like to update your information on file, you can get in touch with them at 1-800-772-1213. 

How can I identify if I received an invalid W-2?

A ‘homemade” W-2 instead of a computer generated W-2

The W-2 is written by hand or has an unorthodox appearance from regular W-2s, this may be the first red flag that the form may be invalid.

Missing box information

Don’t be alarmed if Box 9 is blank. Not all boxes will be filled but some boxes must not be empty or missing on your W-2, such as employee information, employer information and Boxes 1-8. Keep in mind that a zero is not the same as a blank entry.

Format and fonts used in dollar values and entity information

Each box should roughly follow the same format in each row and column. Example: If the value for Box 2 is along the right hand side, Box 4 (the box below) wouldn't be on the left hand.
Be sure to also take note of the font size and the type of font used. If you see a W-2 printed with the font Comic Sans, there's a high chance that W-2 isn't compliant with the IRS requirements.

Altered W-2

The W-2 you receive in the mail should not have any trace of erasures, cross-outs, or whiteout. If the W-2 does have these marks mentioned above, it needs to have an “X” appearing in the “Void” box to show that the form is no longer valid.

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