File Your Taxes Yet? 5 Tips to Maximize Your Refund

Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, is a vital resource for determining 2021 taxes and future Social Security benefits. To avoid burdensome tax penalties and to maximize your tax refund, it is important to review the form carefully. The American Payroll Association offers these five tips to ensure your W-2 is accurate.

1. Make sure you have all W-2s. You should have received a Form W-2 from each employer you worked for in 2021. If you didn’t receive these forms by February 5, contact the company's payroll department to request a "reissued statement."

2. Compare your W-2 to your final 2021 paystub.
Be sure to review the following on your W-2:
- Box 1 will differ from your final 2021 pay stub year-to-date gross pay if you participated in a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored savings plan.
- The Box 3 total should not exceed $142,800—the 2021 Social Security wage base.
- Boxes 1, 3 and 5 will be different from your final 2021 pay stub year-to-date gross pay if you used pre-tax dollars to pay insurance premiums, for transit benefits or to contribute to flexible spending accounts.

3. Check for tax credits. Depending on your eligibility, you may qualify for thousands of dollars from the Earned Income Tax Credit. Read the back of the W-2 copy B to determine your eligibility.

4. Verify any qualified leave wages are reported properly. If you were paid qualified sick leave wages or qualified family leave wages in 2021, these wages must be reported on the W-2, in Box 14 or on a separate statement included with the W-2.

5. Make your Social Security number (SSN) matches your social security card. Double check that the Social Security number on your W-2 matches your Social Security card. If not, call your employer's payroll department to send a corrected W-2.

If you have any questions regarding your Form W-2, contact your payroll department or your accountant. Ensuring that all your details are correct will pave the way for a faster refund.

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