Form W-2 General Information

The Form W-2 reports taxable earnings paid to employees between January 1 and December 31 of each calendar year. Taxable earnings are gross payments minus tax deferrals such as pension plans, pre-tax parking, employee paid health, and DepCare. The annual gross payment is not on the W-2 form.

Distribution of Form W-2:

The Form W-2 is issued once a year and is distributed by Payroll Services. There are two methods of distribution from which you may choose:

  • Online distribution - the Form W-2 is available on UC At Your Service Online by the third week of January.
  • Paper copy distribution - if you are an active employee, contact your department payroll representative for details on how the W-2 form will be distributed. Payroll Services will mail the W-2 for separated employees (who did not opt for the online W-2) and out of state employees by January 31 of each year to the address on record. 

Common questions regarding the Form W-2:

Online W-2 Form - If you opted for online distribution, you will receive an email notification when the W-2 form is available usually by the end of the third week of January.

Paper Copy of W-2 Form - Contact your department payroll representative for details on how the W-2 form will be distributed. The W-2 Form must be distributed by January 31 of each year

You can log on to the UC At Your Service Online website and opt to receive the online W-2 form. You have until December 31 to elect the electronic online W-2 form.

No, you do not need to update your election each year. Your latest election will remain on file until you change it.

Yes, however, there are some restrictions. Separated employees must opt to receive the online W-2 prior to their separation from the University. Also, separated employees can only access At Your Service Online up to 12 months from the date of separation.

The Form W-2 for 2005 and subsequent years is available via At Your Service Online. If you did not elect online distribution of the W-2 form you will not have access to the form for the previous year until February.

Copies of W-2 forms for years prior to 2005 are not available online. Employees separated for more than a year may not have access to At Your Service Online and may request a paper copy from Payroll Services. If the W-2 form is not available via At Your Service Online, a paper copy of the W-2 form may be requested online by submitting a Duplicate W-2 Request Form to Payroll Services (see link under Related Information).

The Social Security number and the name on the W-2 statement must match the Social Security number and name on the Social Security card. If they do, then the W-2 is correct. If they do not, the W-2 form is incorrect and you need a W-2C (corrected W-2).

To obtain a W-2C, send a copy of your Social Security card, the incorrect Form W-2, and a note requesting a W-2C to Payroll Services.

Note: A W-2C is not required for a change in address. If the address is wrong on the W-2 form you can either correct it by using At Your Service Online or by asking your department to process the change in the Personnel/Payroll system. a new Form W-2 will not be produced but the record will be correct for the future.

Although the earnings statement/check stub is issued with your last check for the year, Payroll Services has time prior to issuing the Form W-2 to make earnings adjustments. These adjustments may include overpayments, hand-drawns, rush checks and other income transactions, which may be viewed via At Your Service Online.

For tax reporting purposes, wages are reported when they are paid, not when earned. December earnings are paid on the first banking day in January. Earnings paid in January are reported in the new tax year. 

Yes, work-study is reportable income.

No, fellowship/scholarship is not considered income for services rendered (employment) and is not included in the Form W-2.

No, the amount in box 12 (for which an explanation is provided on the back of the W-2 form) is not included in box 1; box 1 is total taxable income.

Only the amount in box 14, indicated as "Other Income Included in Box 1" is included in box  1. 

No, Payroll Services does not provide tax return forms. However, information can be obtained from the Franchise Tax Board web site for California reporting or the Internal Revenue Service website for federal reporting.