When to Use Form W2 Versus W4

Knowing when to use Form W2 versus W4 is important for businesses of any size. You and your staff should understand the situations in which each form is necessary. For example, you should use Form W-4 to provide information about tax withholdings. These withholdings come from employees’ paychecks. Conversely, employers submit Form W-2 to report annual income and taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.



Both of these IRS documents are payroll forms. Simply put, a Form W-4 serves as an input document. Meanwhile, your company will submit the Form W-2 as an output document. For greater understanding, we have broken down their significant distinctions.


What is Form W-4?

When you select a W2 versus W4 form, you should know the right timing. Employers provide Form W-4 to new hires after the employee has accepted an employment offer. All employees must fill out and submit their form to the company’s payroll department. Otherwise, you cannot give them their first payment.

Make sure your existing employees keep their W-4 forms updated as well. They must complete a new form if they get married, divorced, or have a new dependent, such as a baby. Remember that states can offer different types of Form W-4. Visit the IRS’ website to see if you need to give employees the federal Form W-4 or a state-specific form.


When to Provide a W-2 Form

Employers must provide employees with a W-2 form at the end of the year. Select a W-2 form during the W2 versus W4 decision when you need to offer details on your employees’ earnings and deductions. The earnings reflected on the form may include gross pay, bonuses, and tips. The deductions shown can be for savings, retirement, child care, and taxes.

All employers must send the previous year’s W-2 forms to the IRS and employees by Jan. 31. You must also provide W-2 forms to people who worked for your company during the last tax year. It does not matter if you no longer employ them. Your company can send the W-2 form through the mail. Otherwise, you can email the form or send it via an employee self-service (ESS) portal.


How Advanced Micro Solutions Helps File Employee Forms

Preparing to hit those tax filing deadlines every January can quickly become tiresome. Our W-2 and 1099 Software Filer minimizes the time spent organizing your company’s W-2 forms. Users only need to input payer information one time. You can also import data from Excel, form print files, or ordinary text files.

Our Forms Filer Plus also supports a number of federal forms, including Form W-4. It works as a basic forms filer. Users can enter data into a version of the form on the screen and then you can print the form. When filing W2 versus W4 forms, it helps to know that you can meet your deadline and reduce avoidable errors. Our accounting and payroll software can help businesses meet these goals and also save payroll departments time.


Software Solutions from AMS

Our W-2 and 1099 Forms Filer is our only required platform. From there, users pick the services they need. Choose from the tools below to build out your customized accounting software.