What Do the Letter Codes Mean in Box 12 of My W-2 Form?
What Do the Letter Codes Mean in Box 12 of My W-2 Form?

Navigating the intricate details of your W-2 form can be like deciphering a financial code, especially when it comes to Box 12. This section, adorned with single or double-letter codes, holds the key to understanding the various types of compensation and benefits you’ve received throughout the year.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the meanings of each code, shedding light on the complexities of Box 12.

Whether you’re trying to make sense of your retirement savings contributions, health benefits, or specialized tax considerations, this blog will serve as your compass in decoding the intricacies of your financial landscape.

Form W-2 Reference Guide for Box 12 Codes

Let’s embark on a journey to demystify Box 12 and gain a deeper understanding of your overall compensation.

Box 12 CodeMeaning
AUncollected Social Security or RRTA tax on tips
BUncollected Medicare tax on tips (excluding Additional Medicare Tax)
CTaxable cost of group-term life insurance over $50,000 (included in boxes 1, 3, and 5)
DElective deferrals to a section 401(k) plan, including a SIMPLE 401(k) arrangement
EElective deferrals under a section 403(b) salary reduction agreement
FElective deferrals under a section 408(k)(6) salary reduction SEP
GElective deferrals and employer contributions to a section 457(b) deferred compensation plan
HElective deferrals to a section 501(c)(18)(D) tax-exempt organization plan
JNontaxable sick pay (information only)
K20% excise tax on excess golden parachute payments
LSubstantiated employee business expense reimbursements
MUncollected Social Security or RRTA tax on taxable cost of group-term life insurance over $50,000 (former employees only)
NUncollected Medicare tax on taxable cost of group-term life insurance over $50,000 (former employees only)
PExcludable moving expense reimbursements for military orders
QNontaxable combat pay
REmployer contributions to an Archer MSA
SEmployee salary reduction contributions under a section 408(p) SIMPLE plan
TAdoption benefits
VIncome from the exercise of non-statutory stock option(s)
WEmployer contributions (including employee contributions through a cafeteria plan) to an employee’s health savings account (HSA)
YDeferrals under a section 409A non-qualified deferred compensation plan
ZIncome under a non-qualified deferred compensation plan that fails to satisfy section 409A
AADesignated Roth contributions under a section 401(k) plan
BBDesignated Roth contributions under a section 403(b) plan
DDCost of employer-sponsored health coverage
EEDesignated Roth contributions under a governmental section 457(b) plan
FFPermitted benefits under a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement
GGIncome from qualified equity grants under section 83(i)
HHAggregate deferrals under section 83(i) elections as of the close of the calendar year

Read: IRS Tax Refunds: Know When and How to Claim Your Credit or Refund

Box 12 of your W-2 holds valuable information about the diverse elements that contribute to your total compensation. Knowing the meanings behind these codes empowers you to make informed decisions about your finances.

If you have any questions or need further clarification, consult with a tax professional for personalized guidance.

Stay informed, stay financially savvy!

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