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    YEAREND TAX FORMS QUESTIONS

What is a W-2 Form and when should I receive it?

Form W-2 reports all taxable wages you received from USC during the calendar year and all taxes withheld from those wages. The form serves as an annual statement that enables you to file your personal income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as well as state and local authorities. Form W-2 reports only wages paid during the calendar year, regardless of when they were earned; that is, it does not include amounts earned but not paid until the next year. The University provides W-2 forms to all employees by no later than January 31 each year. USC employees may elect to receive their W-2 electronically or on paper. See How can I be sure to receive my W-2 and/or 1042-S Form(s) below for more information.

What is a Form 1042-S and when should I receive it?

A 1042-S Form is a year-end tax document given to a Non-Resident Alien who:

  • Received wages protected by a tax treaty,
      or
  • Received a Non-Qualified Scholarship (a scholarship or fellowship paid to a non-resident alien by check)

A 1042-S will be generated for each or all of the above. The 1042-S will indicate the income code, which describes the type of income. Starting in Tax Year 2001, qualified scholarships are no longer reported.

   Income Code     Description
  15Non-Qualified Scholarship
  17Dependent Personal Services (Staff jobs)
  18Teaching, certain Research Staff positions
  19Student positions

In certain cases, you may receive multiple 1042-S Forms or a W-2 Form in addition to a 1042-S Form. The form(s) will be mailed to you by no later than January 31 of each year to the address that appears on your pay check or advice slip.
 

How can I be sure to receive my W-2 and/or 1042-S Form(s)?

The best way to ensure timely delivery is to sign up for electronic delivery of your W-2. See "How do I sign up to receive my W-2 online?" below. However, 1042-S Forms are not available for electronic delivery.

An accurate home address will ensure you to receive a paper W-2 and/or 1042-S Form(s) in a timely basis. You should always verify your address on your check or advice slip. If it is incorrect or you have moved, make sure to update your address via eTrac at www.usc.edu/etrac, or with your Home Department Coordinator immediately. NOTE to student employees: Updating your address through OASIS does not update your address with Payroll.

For USC students, it is especially important that you update your information via eTrac at www.usc.edu/etrac. All address corrections must be made before December 31 to ensure a timely and accurate delivery of your W-2 and/or 1042-S Form(s).
 

How do I sign up to receive my W-2 online? What is "W-2 eXpress"?

W-2 eXpress (www.w2express.com) provides USC employees with 24/7 Internet access to the current year W-2 form for both paper and online recipients.

Just log on to www.w2express.com and register to receive your original W-2 online. It's that simple!

  • Simply go to www.w2express.com
  • Log in by entering:
    • USC employer code: 11496
    • Your Social Security Number
    • Your PIN (for first time users: last four digits of your social security number plus the 4 digits of your birth year)
    • You will be prompted to select a personal PIN. Please remember the new PIN so you can use it again in the future.
  • Select "sign-up for online delivery of your original W-2"
  • Select to receive your original W-2 via the web
  • Read the disclosure and complete the consent form

You can consent to receive your W-2 online at any time. However, any election made on or before December 31 will be regarded as consent for the current year's W-2 which is available no later than January 31 of the next year. Withdrawal of your consent can be done at any time.

What information do I provide for the consent form?
Please provide your primary and secondary e-mail address, mailing address, and home/work phone number.

When will my W-2 be available?
Your W-2 will be posted on a secure Web site well before you would normally receive it at home in your mail box. You will receive an email notification when your W-2 is available, along with instructions for retrieval. You will also receive a confirmation e-mail when you enroll for online delivery as well as confirmations of any changes you make to your contact information. Electronically furnished W-2s are available for download for the balance of the tax year.

NOTE: With this option, you will not receive a copy of your W-2 in the mail. You will continue to receive your W-2 electronically each year until you cancel via W-2 eXpress.

What do I do if I have problems logging into the online site?

If you attempted to log in 3 times at www.w2express.com and failed, or if you have forgotten your PIN:

  • Contact USC Payroll Services:
  • Provide us with:
    • your name
    • date of birth
    • USC ID # or USC Employee number

Payroll will reset your PIN back to the default PIN (last four digits of your social security number plus the 4 digits of your birth year).  This service is available only 8:30 am-noon, 1:00pm-4:00pm Monday through Friday.

Can my tax form be downloaded for tax preparation?

Yes, if you receive your W-2 electronically via www.w2express.com, you can securely import W-2 information to various tax preparation software programs.

What if I need another W-2 and/or 1042-S Form(s)? Any fees for duplicate forms?

If you did not receive your W-2 and/or 1042-S Form(s) or need another one, there are several options available to request a duplicate.

DUPLICATE W-2 FORMS

If you need a W-2 for 2004 through current:
All 2004 and later Duplicate W-2s must be ordered via W-2 eXpress (www.w2express.com).

If you need a W-2 for 2003 or earlier:
All 2003 and earlier Duplicate W-2s must be ordered either via University Payroll Services (payroll@usc.edu) or via eTrac at www.usc.edu/etrac (current employees only).

W2 eXpress:
You will need USC's employer code which is 11496, your Social Security number, and your PIN. If you have never logged into W-2 eXpress, the default Pin is the last four digits of your Social Security Number plus 4 digits of your birth year. You will be prompted to change your PIN immediately. Please remember the new PIN so you can use it again in the future.

If you have forgotten your PIN, or if you attempt and fail three times to login, click on the option "forgot your pin". You will be asked a series of questions to verify your identity, and then W-2 eXpress will prompt you to chose a new PIN.

Through W-2 eXpress you will be able to choose to receive a copy of your W-2 by download or fax, or mailed to your home address or an alternate address.

If you still have problems:

Contact USC Payroll Services by email at payroll@usc.edu or by phone at 213-740-8855 and provide your name, date of birth and one of the following: USCID or Employee ID.  Payroll will reset your PIN back to the default PIN (last four digits of your social security number plus the 4 digits of your birth year).  This service is available only 8:30 am-noon, 1:00pm-4:00pm Monday through Friday.

NOTE: If you cannot order through W-2 eXpress because you do not have a valid Social Security Number, please contact University Payroll Services by e-mail at payroll@usc.edu. We will give you special instructions on how to access your W-2.

To order through Payroll Services:
If you cannot access W-2 eXpress because you do not have a Social Security Number, or if you are ordering a duplicate W-2 from 2003 or earlier, you must request the duplicate directly from University Payroll Services or eTrac Services at www.usc.edu/etrac (current employees only). You may order your duplicate W-2 from Payroll Services by any of the following methods. There is a fee for this service, see below.

  • email at payroll@usc.edu
  • fax at 213-740-3051
  • mail us at: 3500 S. Figueroa Street Suite 212, Los Angeles, CA 90089-8016, or mail code 8016

For your convenience, you may use this Duplicate W-2 Request Form and send this to us.

Include the following information:

  • full name
  • USC ID # or employee number
  • Which W-2 you are requesting
  • Routing instructions (mail to your home, office, or hold for pick up with ID)

Mail us the required fees (see below)

The processing time takes 3 to 5 business days.

Fees for duplicate W-2 Forms:

Current year:

  • If you signed up for electronic W-2 via W-2 eXpress: no charge for online viewing and downloading.
  • If you did not sign up for electronic W-2, the first reissue is free. The fee for subsequent reissues is $12.00, paid directly to W-2 eXpress.
  • If ordered from Payroll Services, the fee is $12.00.

Prior year:

All prior year W-2 reissues will be charged an $18.00 fee per reissue. Fees must be prepaid.

1042-S FORMS

All 2004 through current Duplicate 1042-S forms may be ordered via eTrac, or through Payroll Services. Please note that eTrac is only available to current, active employees.

All 1042-S Forms for years prior to 2004 must be ordered through Payroll Services.

To order through eTrac:
Log on to eTrac at http://www.usc.edu/etrac/ and click on the "Calendar Yearend Form (W2 and 1042S) Duplicate Request" link to submit a request for duplicate yearend forms. Before submitting your request, click on the "Personal Information Update" link to be sure that your home mailing address is correct. This will ensure that the form is mailed to the correct address.

To order through Payroll Services:
You may order your duplicate 1042-S from Payroll Services by any of the following methods. There is a fee for this service, see below.

  • email at payroll@usc.edu
  • fax at 213-740-3051
  • mail us at: 3500 S. Figueroa Street Suite 212, Los Angeles, CA 90089-8016, or mail code 8016

For your convenience, you may use this Duplicate W-2 Request Form and send this to us.

Include the following information:

  • full name
  • USC ID # or employee number
  • Which W-2 you are requesting
  • Routing instructions (mail to your home, office, or hold for pick up with ID)

Mail us the required fees (see below)

The processing time takes 3 to 5 business days.

Fees for Duplicate 1042-S Forms:
If ordered by eTrac there is no fee for the first four copies of 1042-S Forms. If ordered from Payroll Services, the first duplicate for the current year is free, and subsequent duplicates are $12.00 each. Prior year duplicates will be $18 for each reissue. Fees are prepaid.

How do I understand my W-2?
Box #   NameDescription
Box 1Wages, Tips, Other Compensation This is your federal taxable wages (total gross wages less all "reduction items" such as retirement, health, dental, and vision insurance, parking, etc). This amount will not equal the year to date total on your last paycheck for the year. This amount does include taxable employer provided benefits, such as tuition assistance benefits, housing subsidy, etc.
Box 2Federal Income Tax Withheld Total amount of federal tax withheld, including "additional withholding."
Box 3Social Security Wages Total reportable wages less reductions which are not subject to Social Security taxes such as health and dental insurance. Retirement plans are not "reduction items" for Social Security tax purposes and so are included. There is an annual maximum of Social Security Wage.
Box 4Social Security Tax Withheld Total amount of "FICA-OASDI" Social Security withheld. There is an annual maximum of FICA-OASDI tax each year.
Box 5Medicare Wages and Tips Total amount of reportable wages less reductions which are subject to Medicare taxes. Retirement plans are not "reduction items" for Medicare tax purposes and so are included. There is no yearly limit for Medicare wages or taxes.
Box 6Medicare Tax Withheld The total amount of FICA-Medicare withheld. There is no yearly limit for FICA-Medicare tax withheld.
Box 7Social Security Tips The amount of tips reported by the employee to the employer during the calendar year.
Box 8Allocated Tips The category is not applicable to USC.
Box 9Advance EIC Payment The amount paid to the employee as Advance Earned Income Credit Payment based on the filing of a W-5.
Box 10Dependent Care Benefits Total amount of dependent care withheld. Amount should not exceed $5,000.
Box 11Nonqualified plans Not applicable to USC
Box 12"See instructions for box 12" Code E - elective deferrals to Section 403(b) (Supplemental Retirement contributions for the year and Basic retirement contribution from 7/1/07)
Code P - excludable moving expenses
Code G - elective deferrals to a section 457(b) deferred compensation plan
Box 13Retirement Plan "Retirement Plan" will be checked if enrolled in any basic retirement plan.
Box 14Other The amount entered here is the amount withheld for VPDI (University Voluntary Disability Plan) only. There is an annual limit on this amount.
Box 15Name of State The employee's tax residence state.
Box 16State Wages, Tips, etc. This is your state taxable wages (total gross wages less all reduction items such as health, dental, and vision insurance, parking, retirement, etc). This amount will not equal the year to date total gross wages on your last paycheck for the year. For most employees this figure will match Box 1. If you are a non-resident alien receiving a 1042S for tax-exempt wages, this amount will be different than Box 1.
Box 17State Income Tax The total amount of state tax withheld in the calendar year, including "additional withholding."
Box 18Local Wages, tips, etc. The total of reportable wages, less reductions, which are not subject to California State Disability taxes. Retirement plans are not "reduction items" for disability tax purposes and so are included. There is an annual limit.
Box 19Local Income Tax The total amount of California State Disability tax withheld in the calendar year. There is an annual limit.
Box 20Locality Name "CASDI" will appear here.
What do I do if my W-2 and/or 1042S are incorrect?

If you believe your W-2 or 1042-S is in error or you have questions, send an e-mail to Payroll Services at payroll@usc.edu with full details of your question or concern.
 

What is a 1098-T Form? Whom do I call with questions?

A 1098-T Form is provided to some students to alert them they may be eligible for federal income tax credits. University Payroll Services does not issue 1098-T Forms, and cannot answer questions nor provide any assistance. For questions and requests for duplicates, please visit the Student Financial Services website at www.usc.edu/sfs

What is a 1099-M Form? Whom do I call with questions?

A 1099-M Form may be provided to individuals who receive payments greater than amount of $600 through Disbursement Control. University Payroll Services does not issue 1099-M Forms, and cannot answer questions nor provide any assistance. For questions and requests for duplicates please visit the Disbursement Control website at: www.usc.edu/dc or call: 213-740-2710.

What is a 1099-R Form? Whom do I call with questions?

A 1099-R is provided to individuals for distributions from pensions, annuities, retirement or profit sharing plans, IRAs insurance contracts, etc. For questions and request for duplicates please contact University Payroll Services at: payroll@usc.edu or call 213-740-8855.
 

What is the EITC? Whom do I contact for further assistance?

Based on your annual earnings, you may be eligible to receive the earned income tax credit from the federal government. The earned income tax credit is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families. The earned income tax credit has no effect on certain welfare benefits. In most cases, earned income tax credit payments will not be used to determine eligibility for Medicaid, supplemental security income, food stamps, low-income housing or most temporary assistance for needy families' payments. Even if you do not owe federal taxes, you must file a tax return to receive the earned income tax credit. Be sure to fill out the earned income tax credit form in the federal income tax return booklet. For information regarding your eligibility to receive the earned income tax credit, including information on how to obtain the IRS Notice 797 or Form W-5, or any other necessary forms and instructions, contact the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-829-3676 or through its Web site at www.irs.gov.
 

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