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2020 Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement FAQs

    Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Form W-2

    Who should I contact if my Form W-2 was damaged, not sealed?

    Contact your Personnel Office to order a replacement.

    I think my personal information has been compromised, whom do I contact?

    Here are two suggested contacts:

    Federal Trade Identity theft hot line  1-877-438-4338

    Social Security Fraud Hotline 1-800-269-0271

    Why did I receive this Form W-2?

    If you received a Form W-2 from State Controller Betty Yee’s Office, you either received wages and/or had withholding or other information reported while employed with the State of California. As the chief fiscal officer of California, the State Controller is responsible for mailing all Form W-2s to civil service and California State University employees paid by the state’s Uniform State Payroll System.  The federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires employers to report employees’ wage and salary information on Form W-2.  The Form W-2 also reports the amount of federal, state and other income taxes withheld from the employee’s paycheck during the calendar year.

    When will my Form W-2 be mailed?

    The State Controller's Office will mail the 2020 Form W-2s to state and California State University employees by January 31, 2021.

    What if I have not received my Form W-2 or my mailing address has changed?

    Contact your Personnel/Payroll Office after January 31. Undeliverable Form W-2s are returned to your Personnel/Payroll Office by the post office.

    What wages are reflected on the Form W-2?

    The Form W-2 reflects wages paid by warrants/direct deposit payments issued during the 2020 tax year, regardless of the pay period wages were earned.  The 2020 Form W-2 includes warrants/payments with issue dates of January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.  The Form W-2 contains all wages and tax information for an employee regardless of the number of state agencies/campuses for which he or she worked during the tax year.

    Why is the year-to-date gross on my final earnings statement/direct deposit advice different than what is shown in Box 1?

    The year-to-date gross on the final earnings statement/direct deposit advice for 2020 may not agree with Box 1 (Wages, Tips, Other Compensation) due to the following items: 

    • Accounts Receivable deductions 
    • Salary advances, fringe benefits, employee business expense reimbursements 
    • Deferred Compensation deductions 
    • Pre-Tax Benefit deductions (Health, Dental, Health Care Reimbursement, Dependent Care Reimbursement, Other Post-Employment Benefits - OPEB).   Please refer to the following page for OPEB FAQs:  Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) FAQs - CalHR 
    • Pre-Tax Parking deductions 
    • Flex Benefit deductions 
    • Retirement, Part-time/Seasonal/Temporary or Alternate Retirement Plan contributions 
    • Labor Code Section 4800 (LC 4800) disability payments 
    • Tax Sheltered Annuity deductions 
    • Consolidated Benefits 

    Are Non-Industrial Disability (IDL) payments considered wages?

    Yes, all are considered wages and are included in Box 1.

    What are the maximum wages subject to Social Security?

    The maximum wages subject to Social Security for the tax year 2020 is $137,700.00.  Box 4 (Social Security Tax Withheld) is computed based upon the 2020 rate of 6.20% of wages subject to Social Security with an annual maximum contribution of $8,537.40.

    What are the maximum wages subject to Medicare?

    There is no maximum amount of wages subject to Medicare.  Box 6 (Medicare Tax Withheld) is computed based upon the 2020 rate of 1.45% of wages subject to Medicare.

    Note: Effective January 1, 2013, individuals with earned income of more than $200,000.00 pay an additional 0.9% in Medicare taxes.

    Why is Retirement Plan “X’d” in Box 13?

    Box 13 (not titled) is used to identify if an employee is in a pension plan.  An “X” indicates employees are members of either the Public Employees’, State Teachers’, Judges’ or Legislators’ Retirement System.  Employees in the Alternate Retirement Plan or Part-time/Seasonal/Temporary retirement plan will not have an “X” indicated.

    Why are the wages reported in Box 1 different than Box 3 or 5?

    Box 1 and Box 3 or 5 may not agree due to the following items:

    • Accounts Receivable deductions
    • Reaching Social Security maximum wages
    • Deferred Compensation deductions
    • Retirement, Part-time/Seasonal/Temporary or Alternate Retirement Plan contributions
    • Flex Benefit deductions
    • Tax Sheltered Annuity deductions
    • Pre-Tax Benefit deductions (Health, Dental, Health Care Reimbursement, Dependent Care Reimbursement, Other Post-Employment Benefits)
    • Pre-Tax Parking deductions
    • Consolidated Benefits

    Why are the wages reported in Box 1 Federal Wages different than Box 16 State Wages?

    The amount in Box 16 state wages and Box 1 federal wages are usually the same.  However, CA wages in Box 16 may differ from Box 1 federal wages for the following reasons: 

    • Wages earned in another state. 
    • Medical expenses.  CA allows an exclusion from gross income for certain employer-provided benefits for a taxpayer's registered domestic partner and that partner's dependents.  
    • California does not conform to federal law regarding health savings accounts (HSAs). 
    • CA taxpayers cannot deduct contributions to federal HSA from their California Wages.   It is not excluded as income and is added to the taxpayers CA wages. 
    • Ridesharing benefits. 
    • Sick pay under FICA. 
    • Clergy Housing Exclusion 
    • Income exempt by U.S. treaties (applies to the employees from the country that has treaty with the US). 
    • California and New York do not conform to the federal suspension of exclusion from income for qualified moving expense reimbursements under the 2017 federal tax law, HR.1, Pub. L. 115-97.  CA and New York allow exclusion from income for qualified moving expense reimbursements. 

    What is the Dependent Care maximum contribution?

    The Dependent Care maximum contribution for the tax year 2020 is $5,000.  Deduction amounts withheld are reported in Box 10 (Dependent Care Benefits).

    Are Fringe Benefits reported on the Form W-2?

    Yes, fringe benefits are reported in Boxes 1 and 14 (Other).  This amount will also be included in Boxes 3 and 5, if applicable.

    Are Deferred Compensation or Tax Sheltered Annuity deductions reported on the Form W-2?

    Yes, employees who have Deferred Compensation or Tax Sheltered Annuity deductions withheld will have the deduction amounts reported in Box 12 with codes “D” for 401(k), “G” for 457(b) and “E” for 403(b).

    Are Part-time/Seasonal/Temporary (PST) and/or Alternate Retirement Plan (ARP) contributions reported on the Form W-2?

    Yes, employees who have contributed to the PST retirement plan will have the contributions reported in Box 12 with code “G”.  However, employees who contributed to the ARP plan will not have the contributions reported on Form W-2.

    What other amounts are reported in Box 12?

    • Code “C” - The imputed value of Group Term Life Insurance coverage in excess of $50,000. 
    • Code “L” - Non-taxable Standard Mileage reimbursement amounts up to the State’s allowances.(Military Only) 
    • Code “P” – Excludable moving expense reimbursements paid directly to a member of the U.S. Armed Forces (not included in box 1, 3, or 5). 
    • Code “AA” - Designated Roth contributions under a section 401(K) plan. 
    • Code “BB” - Designated Roth contributions under a section 403(b) plan. 
    • Code “DD” - The cost of employer-sponsored health coverage.  The amount reported is not taxable. 
    • Code “EE” – Designated Roth contributions under a governmental section 457(b) plan. 

    What are the maximum wages subject to California State Disability Insurance (CASDO)I)

    The maximum wages subject to SDI for the tax year 2020 is $122,909.00.  Box 14 (Other) CASDI was computed at the 2020 rate of 1.0% with an annual maximum contribution amount of $1,229.09.

    What should I do if I received a Form W-2 with an incorrect social security number or two or more Form W-2s with different social security numbers?

    Contact your Personnel/Payroll Office regarding incorrect social security number.

    Who should I contact for questions concerning federal or state income tax returns?

    Any questions concerning federal or state income tax returns must be directed to the local Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040 or Franchise Tax Board office at (800) 338-0505.

    Who should I contact if I have any further questions about my Form W-2?

    Contact your Personnel/Payroll Office with any further questions.

    How do I request a duplicate Form W-2?

    Refer to the following page: Request a Duplicate Form W-2

    I did a name change but I received a W-2 with my former name. What do I do?

    The Form W-2 prints with the name you had per your first payment issued in the tax year.  It will not show your current name

    I worked for multiple state agencies/campuses. Will I be receiving multiple Form W-2s?

    If you had multiple employers in a given year, you will only be receiving one Form W-2.

    As an IHSS (In Home Support Service) employee, who do I contact to request a duplicate/corrected W-2 form?

    The State Controller’s Office does not provide W-2’s for IHSS employees.  Please contact the social worker or the local IHSS personnel/payroll office of the county where you work or worked to request a duplicate W-2. Go online and search for the county IHSS personnel/payroll office you service to get their phone number.

    What is the FFCRA and/or EFMLA reported in Box 14?

    Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), employers are required to provide paid leave for specified reasons related to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) through two separate provisions:  the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA).  The FFCRA’s paid leave provisions are effective April 1, 2020, and apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.  The Internal Revenue Service issued guidance IRS Notice 2020-54   to employers on the required reporting of qualified sick leave and family leave wages paid under the FFCRA.  The guidance requires employers to report separately the amount of emergency sick and family leave paid to employees under FFCRA on either 2020 Forms W-2, Box 14, or on a separate statement.  This required reporting provides employees who are also self-employed with amounts they may need to figure their qualified sick leave equivalent or equivalent family leave equivalent credits under FFCRA when they file their taxes.   

    INFORMATION FOR FFCRA AND/OR EFMLA REPORTED IN BOX 14  

    Included in Box 14, if applicable, are amounts paid as qualified sick leave wages or qualified family leave wages under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  Specifically, up to two types of paid qualified sick leave wages or qualified family leave wages are reported in Box 14: 

    • Sick leave wages subject to $511 per day limit because of care you required; and 
    • Emergency family leave wages. 

    What do I do if I have self-employment in addition to wages paid by the State of California and I have FFCRA and/or EFMLA reported on my Form W-2?

     

    If you have self-employment income in addition to wages paid by the State of California, and you intend to claim any qualified sick leave or qualified family leave equivalent credits, you must report the qualified sick leave or qualified family leave wages on Form 7202, Credits for Sick Leave and Family Leave for Certain Self-Employed Individuals, included with your income tax return and reduce (but not below zero) any qualified sick leave or qualified family leave equivalent credits by the amount of these quialified leave wages. If you have self-employment income, you should refer to the instructions for your individual income tax return for more information.

    BOX 14 SICK LEAVE WAGES DESCRIPTION

    FFCRA - Sick Leave wages subject to the $511 per day limit, up to $5,111 for the year.

    EFMLA - Emergency family leave wages, up to $10,000.00 for the year.

    For additional information on FFCRA, please refer to FFCRA Questions and Answers, https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions.