Frequently Asked Questions about W-2s

The IRS requires employers to report wage and salary information for employees on Form W-2. Your W-2 also reports the amount of federal, state and other taxes withheld from your paycheck. As an employee, the information on your W-2 is extremely important when preparing your tax return.

Below are some frequently asked questions about W-2 Forms.

Most employees will download their W-2 Statements from UCPath Online. You will be able to download your W-2 by going to the following page:

Dashboard Navigation: Income and Taxes > View Online W-2/W-2C

Menu Navigation: Employee Actions > Income and Taxes > View Online W-2/W-2C

No. To assure confidentiality, the W-2 must be:

  • mailed or picked up at the Payroll Office with photo I.D; or
  • mailed to the address of record in response to a request for a duplicate form.

Complete and submit this form to request a duplicate W-2.

No. Due to the private nature of the information we cannot provide figures over the telephone.

While your Surepay statement/check stub is issued with your last check for the year, the Payroll Division has time prior to issuing W-2s to make adjustments. This could include the overpayments, handdrawns, rush checks, and other income transactions.

Box 1 reflects your taxable earnings. That is, total earnings minus all tax-sheltered deductions. Box 3 and/or Box 5 reflect your Social Security / Medicare eligible earnings. Some deductions from your pay influence one or all of these taxable earnings. Here are several deductions that reduce your total gross for tax reporting purposes:

  • DCP - Mandatory Defined Contribution Plan deductions *
  • 403(b) - Voluntary contributions to tax deferred retirement arrangement *
  • 457(b) - Voluntary contributions to tax deferred retirement arrangement *
  • DepCare - Dependent Care deductions **
  • HCRA - Health Care Reimbursement Account contributions **
  • Health Premium deductions (if enrolled in TIP) **
  • Pre-Tax Parking deductions **

* Reduces Federal and State Income taxable grosses only
** Reduces Federal, State, OASDI and Medicare grosses

If you have Box 5 gross, but not Box 3 gross, you probably are not participating in service credit accrual within the University's Retirement Plan.

Box 13 is checked anytime an employee has a DCP (Defined Contribution Plan) deduction during the year. Since limited status employees generally pay DCP, the box is checked. DCP is a form of a "retirement arrangement."

Participation in DCP is not optional. The only exceptions to DCP deductions are for students in academic or student assistant titles who are enrolled at least half time during academic sessions, and non-resident aliens who are present in the U.S. under the F-1 or J-1 visa programs.

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

Here are some fringe benefits that may appear in Box 14:

  • Domestic Partner Imputed Income
  • Executive Auto Imputed Income

The OASDI tax rate for employees is 6.2 percent. The rate for Medicare is 1.45 percent. An additional 0.9 percent in Medicare withholding taxes is deducted on gross earnings over $200,000.

In 2018, the maximum amount of income subject to OASDI – commonly known as Social Security – is $128,400. For Medicare, all wages are subject with no limit, and an additional 0.9 percent is deducted on gross earnings over $200,000.

Since the University of California is self-insured for its disability program, UC employees do not pay into the State Disability fund. The information, appropriately, does not exist. Do not confuse the federal OASDI (Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) program with SDI.

OASDI is also known as Social Security tax, part of the FICA program. Incidentally, the University is also self-insured for unemployment insurance purposes. Therefore, UC employees do not pay premiums into the UI program.

Yes, work-study is reportable income.

Form 1098T is issued by an outside agency, UC Education Credit Reporting Services.

Information is available from the ACT 1098T Website or by phone at 877-467-3821.

The Payroll Office cannot supply tax return forms. Tax return forms are available from the following websites:

Call the following for tax help:

  • Internal Revenue Service, 800-829-1040
  • Franchise Tax Board, 800-852-5711

Many people prepare their taxes online using commercially available software. There are free and paid options depending on your circumstances. You can learn more on the IRS website: