LEVEL-UP YOUNG PEOPLE – Understand and Manage  Your W-2 with Campaign for Working Families.  

By Nikia Owens, Ph.D.


Embarking on the journey of filing taxes for the first time can be daunting, especially for young people who may have taken up summer jobs or part-time work. Understanding your W-2 form is a critical step in this process. Campaign for Working Families (CWF) is committed to guiding you through this process with ease, offering the expertise of IRS-certified professional tax preparers at no cost.

What is a W-2?

The W-2 form is an essential document issued by your employer. It details your annual earnings and the taxes withheld from your paycheck. If you earned less than $12,950 per annum, you are not required  to file your taxes. However, as a first-time filer, it is your gateway to understanding your tax obligations and potential refunds.

Who Receives a W-2?

If you have been an employee receiving a regular paycheck, expect a W-2 from your employer. This includes part-time work, summer jobs, or any employment where taxes are automatically deducted from your earnings.

W-2: The Timeline

For the 2023 tax year, employers are required to send out W-2 forms by January 31, 2024. This allows taxpayers ample time to file their taxes by the April deadline.

W-2 vs. Other Tax Documents/Forms 

W-2 vs. 1099: Unlike the W-2, a 1099 form is for independent contractors or freelancers. Taxes are not withheld from their pay, placing a greater responsibility on them to manage tax payments.

W-2 vs. W-4: The W-4 form is filled out when you commence employment. It determines how much tax is withheld from your paycheck, while the W-2 reports what was actually withheld.

W-2 vs. W-9: The W-9 is used by small businesses/freelancers to provide their tax identification number to their clients, whereas the W-2 is for employees.

The Importance of Filing Taxes

Filing your taxes is not only a civic duty but also beneficial. It may lead to a tax refund, which is especially pertinent for young earners. Timely filing can prevent future legal complications and establish a solid financial record.

CWF: Your Partner in Tax Preparation

CWF understands the intricacies of tax filing and is dedicated to supporting first-time filers. CWF IRS-certified professionals are equipped to handle your W-2 queries and guide you through the filing process, ensuring accuracy and maximizing your potential refunds. 


Navigating your first W-2 form can be simpler than it appears, especially with the right guidance. With CWF, you are not alone in this journey. Our commitment is to demystify tax filing, making it an educational and empowering experience for you.

Remember, the key to successful tax filing is understanding your documents, meeting deadlines, and seeking professional assistance when needed. With CWF’s support, you can approach the 2024 tax season with confidence and ease.

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