Areas to review on your W-2:
Wages in proportion to your withholdings
Suddenly, you’re getting a $500,000 refund on your tax return and you know that can’t be right. Double-check the taxes withheld in Boxes 2, 4 and 6. Entering an extra number will throw off the refund or balance due on your tax return.
Excessive wages for line of work
What if your tax return is on the opposite end of the spectrum? It says you owe $500,000 to the federal and state! Time to review Boxes 1, 3, 5, and 7 to see what’s going on. Again, having an extra number accidentally added into a the box may change your tax return drastically. If your refund or taxes due looks abnormally high, review your Form 1040 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 and Social Security Administration. You can get in touch with them at 1-800-772-1213.
I think the W-2 itself may be a fake! What are possible clues to identity if my W-2 is a counterfeit?
A ‘homemade” W-2 instead of a computer generated W-2
The W-2 is written by hand or it has an unorthodox appearance from regular W-2s, this may be the first red flag that the form could be forged.
Missing box information
Don’t freak out 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 shouldn't be randomly positioned as it 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.
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W-2 does have these marks mentioned above, it needs to have an “X” appearing in the “Void” box to show that the form is no longer valid.