Difference Between W-4 and W-2

Main Difference

W-4 and W-2 are the tax forms that are issued by the Internal Revenue Services. They demand these forms to estimate the income tax of an individual worker. They both are different. W-4 form tell your employer about your filing status and your tax claiming allowances. W-2 tells you about the taxable income that you earned in an year and the amount that has been withheld for taxes by employer. W-4 is related to the federal income tax withholding while W-2 is related to your tax filing.

What is W-4?

W-4 is form of tax related to the federal income tax withholding. Each form of W-4 belongs to the employee, hence the financial condition of each employee is different. Employee cannot get to know how much tax to withhold from employee paychecks. It it an estimation of the correct amount of federal income tax to be deducted. Employee should consider his family condition, no of children, material status, home ownership or on rent and number of dependents. It is filled at the start of job and can be updated any time if there is a change in his financial situation.

What is W-2?

W-2 is also a tax form that is prepared by the employee as the last Pay of the year passes out. It contains the information of your taxable wages along with the tax withheld for the year. It is given by the employer to his employees at the end of a year. Employer keep this form to him after being filled by the employee and submit this form with Form 1040 at the time of paying tax. Employer must give to his employees by January 31st and must have to submit its copy to the Social Security Administration by 29th of February

Key Differences

  1. W-4 is related to the federal income tax withholding while W-2 is related to your tax filing.
  2. W-4 is filled at the start of each job while W-2 is filled at the end of the year after last pay.
  3. W-2 can be updated anytime as the financial condition changes while W-4 can’t be updated for that year.
  4. The copy of W-4 form is saved by the employer but not sent to Internal Revenue Service’s and only sent to IRS in case if your tax withholding is considerably less than tax due. While the copy of W-2 is sent to you as well the Social Security Administration.
  5. W-4 remains to the employer but W-2 is sent to Social Security Administration.
  6. Both of the forms are related to the employee taxes.