Questions on Bizarre W-2
March 23, 2014 6:16 PM   Subscribe

I was filing my taxes online when I saw my W-2 was extra confusing. The online tax website even flagged the data I entered saying there were probably errors. I'll talk with my employer about this if necessary, but is it actually invalid information or just unusual circumstances? I've provided all the information I could think was relevant.

I am a W-2 employee of a company that does contract work for other companies. I did projects for 3 companies in 3 states. The first was for an Iowa company which I did remotely while living in Illinois. The second was for a Michigan company where I rented a place while maintaining my Illinois so I could collect per diem. The third project was for an Illinois company which I commuted to from my Illinois residence.

Based on that I expected to get 3 pages (plus the instructions) for my W-2. I received 4 pages and the instructions. The 4th page contained only code DD in Box 12a. Every other Box was blank on this page. Why wouldn't that code be included with the other 3 pages? Also, IA used code D, but IL and MI didn't use any code. Why wouldn't code D apply to all states? That makes no sense to me.

For IA, Box 16 (Stage wages) was blank, but Box 17 (State income tax) had an amount in it. Why would there be state income taxes taken out without there being corresponding stage wages? I didn't earn much for that project, but I earned a little!

For IL, Boxes 1-8 and 10-11 contain nothing except a string of asterisks (************) in Copy B and C. Copy 2 was fine. Why on earth would those boxes be populated entirely by asterisks and why only for Copy B and C?

For MI, Boxes 16 and 17 were blank, but not Boxes 18-20 (Local Wages, taxes, and name). Why wouldn't wages be taken out for MI? My internet research says there's a reciprocity agreement between MI and IL, but I would have needed to fill out Form MI-W4 for my employer and I definitely didn't do that.

Is this W-2 definitely wrong in some cases and I should get it fixed? Or is there a rational explanation for ever weird thing I saw?
posted by Green With You to Law & Government (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Take this to an accountant. It's too complicated even if everything is right on the W2. It is a pretty rare situation
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:43 PM on March 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding the recommendation for an accountant. I used to have to file in multiple states because I traveled a lot for work and it can get incredibly complicated even if the W-2s are perfect. What you are describing sounds like the W-2s incorrect, but an experienced tax accountant can confirm that, help you get corrected W-2s, and file everything correctly. Totally worth the money.
posted by bedhead at 8:03 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I asked a couple of my biggest questions to a coworker who forwarded them on. They were answered by the payroll tax department. They took into account the IL/MI reciprocity agreement and withheld my MI taxes through IL. The asterisks were to indicate that the other pages didn't need to be filed with the IRS.

As for the Box 12 codes, I can take an educated guess about them. IL and MI don't seem to actually care about them, basically. And while Code DD probably should have been included on the same page as code D, I don't think that's going to be an issue as long as I include it with my federal return.

My question, fwiw, was not how do I file my taxes. I just wanted to know whether my W-2 was correct or incorrect and why or why not. It seems that it was correct.
posted by Green With You at 8:11 AM on March 25, 2014

« Older Does the American Legislative Exchange Council...   |   Reality check on possible notebook purchase... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.