How to Calculate W2 Income Tax Return

by Bonnie Conrad ; Updated September 11, 2015
Use your W2 to figure your taxes.

When you work for a company, your employer reports your income to the IRS, and to you, with a W2 form. Once you have your W2 form in hand, you can start to do your taxes and calculate how much you owe, or how much the government owes you. If the only income you have comes from your job and a small amount of interest, you can use the one page 1040-EZ tax form and file your taxes quickly and easily.

Download a copy of the 1040-EZ form from the IRS website, or obtain one from your local legislative office or public library. You an use the 1040-EZ form if your income is only from wages and a small amount of interest.

Enter your W2 wages on line 1 of the 1040-EZ form. Add up the amounts from all your W2 forms if you held more than one job during the previous year.

Write the amount of any interest you received on line line 2. If you received more than $1,500 in interest, you cannot use the 1040-EZ form.

Add your W2 income and any interest income you received and place the total on line 4 of the 1040-EZ form.

Subtract your exemptions and standard deduction from the total calculated in the previous step and enter the total on line 6. This is your taxable income.

Enter the tax withheld as shown on your W2 on line 7 of the 1040-EZ form. Enter your total tax liability on line 11. You can find your tax liability by using the tax table on the IRS website (See Resources) or in the booklet that came with the tax form.

Compare the amount of taxes reported on your W2 form with your total tax liability. If your taxes withheld exceed your liability, you are due a refund. Otherwise, you will have to pay the additional taxes due to the IRS.

About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Bonnie Conrad has been working as a professional freelance writer since 2003. Her work can be seen on Credit Factor, Constant Content and a number of other websites. Conrad also works full-time as a computer technician and loves to write about a number of technician topics. She studied computer technology and business administration at Harrisburg Area Community College.

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