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What is a W-2 Verification Code?

Starting the filing season for 2017, the IRS has introduced some changes to verify the authenticity of the data on your W-2. What does this mean for filers receiving a W-2?

To combat tax-related identity theft and refund fraud, the IRS partnered with certain payroll service providers to include a 16-character verification code on many Forms W-2 provided to employees. The A Form W-2 with a verification code will display it in box 9, newly labeled “Verification Code.” A Form W-2 without a verification code may include a blank box 9 or no box 9 at all.

This inclusion of the verification code may affect roughly 60 million 2017 Form W-2s compared to 2 million W-2s in 2016. The code will be shown in 4 groups of 4 alphanumeric characters, separated by hyphens. It should look something like this: XXXX-XXXX-XXXX.

Please note that the verification code will not be carried over if you are using OCR to scan and import your W-2. You will need to manually enter Box 9 if you do have a value.

What if my W-2 doesn’t have a verification code? If I don’t enter a code or if I enter the wrong code, will it negatively affect my tax return?

Don’t worry, not all W-2s will have a verification code present on Box 9. Since it’s still in the testing stages, if you don’t see a verification code on your W-2, you can still file your tax return without it. It is definitely another item to look out for when reviewing your W-2 before submission but if it’s not there, please leave it blank.

If you’re paper filing your return, you may not need to provide the verification code.

Still have questions? Contact member support

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