How Does Having Multiple W-2s Affect Your Taxes?

by W D Adkins ; Updated July 27, 2017
Multiple W-2s can leave you owning Uncle Sam a lot of money when you file your taxes.

Each year, taxpayers get W-2 forms from employers documenting wages earned and taxes withheld from paychecks. If you have two jobs, change employers or file a joint return with a spouse who works, you receive multiple W-2s. This won't change the amount of your tax liability. However, multiple W-2s may lead to a bigger tax bill in April if employers don't withhold enough income taxes.

Reporting Multiple W-2s

Reporting earnings and payroll tax information from multiple W-2s on your tax return is simply a matter of adding the amounts from each form together and entering the result on your tax return. For example, suppose you file using Form 1040EZ. Add up the wages listed in box 1 of each W-2 and enter the total on line 1 or the equivalent line on Form 1040 or 1040A. Do the same for other information on the W-2 forms. Attach copies of all W-2s to the tax return.

Managing Multiple Employer Tax Withholding

A common problem with multiple W-2s is that too little income tax may be withheld from your paychecks, leaving you owing a lot when you file your tax return. To prevent this, claim fewer withholding allowances on the W-4 withholding forms you give employers. The IRS suggests using one W-4 form worksheet to calculate the number of allowances you should claim and splitting them up between employers. You also can ask an employer to withhold an extra amount from each paycheck if need be.

Excess Social Security Withholding

Receiving W-2s from multiple employers may result in excess withholding of Social Security tax. You owe this tax only on the first $118,500 you make as of 2015. Suppose you make $75,000 each at two jobs. Both employers will take out Social Security tax on all of your earnings. You can get the excess amount back as a refund when you file your tax return

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, W D Adkins has been writing professionally since 2008. He writes about business, personal finance and careers. Adkins holds master's degrees in history and sociology from Georgia State University. He became a member of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2009.

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