Topic 401 - Wages and Salaries

Wages, salaries, and tips you received for performing services as an employee of an employer must be included in your gross income. Amounts withheld for taxes, including but not limited to income tax, social security and Medicare taxes, are considered "received" and must be included in gross income in the year they are withheld. Generally, your employer's contribution to a qualified pension plan for you is not included in gross income at the time it is contributed. Additionally, while amounts withheld under certain salary reduction agreements with your employer are generally excluded from gross income, such amounts may have to be included in wages subject to social security and Medicare taxes in the year they are withheld. See Publication 17, Chapter 5, Wages Salaries and Other Earnings, and Chapter 6, Tip Income, for specific information.

Your employer should provide a Form W-2 (PDF) showing your total income and withholding. You must include all income and withholding from all Forms W-2 you receive, and if filing jointly all of your spouse's Forms W-2. Attach a copy of each Form W-2 to the front of your tax return as indicated in the instructions. Please note that Form 1099-MISC (PDF) generally reports self-employment income. See Publication 334, Tax Guide for Small Business, for more information.

Note: Topic 407 provides information on Business Income, and Topic 608 provides information on excess social security or railroad tax withholding.

File an amended tax return, Form 1040X (PDF), if you receive a Form W-2 after your return is filed. Topic 308 provides information on amended returns.

Refer to Topic 154, Form W-2 and Form 1099-R (What to Do If Not Received), if you have not received one or more Forms W-2 by January 31st.

For more information on tips, refer to Publication 531, Reporting Tip Income, and Publication 1244 (PDF), Employee's Daily Record of Tips and Report to Employer.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: August 19, 2014