Box 12 Codes on Tax Form W-2 Explained

w2 form penBelow is the explanation of the Box 12 Codes on the W-2 tax form.

A – Any uncollected Social Security tax or RRTA tax on tips. You’ll include this amount in your total tax liability on your Form 1040.

B – Any uncollected Medicare tax on tips. You’ll include this amount in your total tax liability on Form 1040.

C – If you had group term life insurance through your workplace, the premiums for any value over $50,000 become taxable income to you and are included here.

D – Contributions to a 401k or SIMPLE 401k retirement plan.

E – Contributions to a 403b retirement plan.

F – Contributions to an SEP IRA retirement plan.

G – Contributions that you made and any employer contributions to a 457b retirement plan.

H – Contributions to a 501(c) tax-exempt plan.

J – Non-taxable sick pay.

K – Excise tax (equal to 20%) on excess “golden parachute” payments.

L – Reimbursements for employee business expenses.

M – Uncollected Social Security tax or RRTA tax on the premium value of taxable group term life insurance over $50,000 for former employees.

N – Uncollected Medicare tax on the premium value of taxable group term life insurance over $50,000 for former employees.

P – Reimbursements for job relocation moving expenses paid directly to you, and not included in boxes 1, 3, or 5.

Q – Non-taxable combat pay. This isn’t subject to tax, but you can use it to calculate your Earned Income Credit if it will help.

R – Employer contributions to an Archer Medical Savings Account. These are not common anymore.

S – Employee contributions to a SIMPLE retirement plan.

T – Any adoption benefits paid to you by your employer. Use Form 8839 to calculate what portion may be taxable income.

V – Income from exercising non-statutory stock options.

W – Employer contributions to your health savings account (HSA). You will need to report this amount on Form 8889.

Y – Salary deferrals under your 409A non-qualified deferred compensation plan.

Z – Income received under 409A non-qualified deferred compensation plan.

AA – Designated Roth contributions to a 401k retirement plan.

BB – Designated Roth contributions to a 403b retirement plan.

DD – Cost of employer-sponsored healthcare (this amount is not taxable.)

EE – Designated Roth contributions to a governmental 457b retirement plan.

  • Bjacks304

    If we give our employee an option of putting post-tax dollars in a 403B Roth, is it need to be reported on the W2 and if so where?

    • Kira Botkin

      Since the money is post-tax, it should remain as part of their taxable wages. The money that goes under the various codes must be separated out because it gets special tax treatment, but the post-tax money in a Roth 403(b) is treated no differently than the rest of their wages because they are paying regular tax on it.

    • Kira Botkin

      Sorry, I correct myself: It does go on their W2, but is reported as code 12 BB.

  • Charlie Miller

    I have an employee that received a small reimbursement for relocation (not taxable). The amount was not puton his W-2, Box 12 as a P memo. He has already filed his taxes using the EZ 1040 form.

    Do I need to give him a corrected W-2 form? My payroll provider says I do not since there is no where to report box 12 and there is nothing to amend???

    • Kira Botkin

      Yes, you should give him a corrected W-2 form. And you should maybe get a new payroll provider – only 12A through 12D have dedicated spaces, so do they think you don’t have to bother reporting anything for codes 12E through 12BB?

      He should not need to refile his taxes, though, since it is not taxable income.

  • Sophia

    We are starting a “SIMPLE IRA” for our employees. We are wondering if we should select box “s” or “d” for box 12 on the W2 form. Would you please advise us? thank you!

    • Kira Botkin

      That would be box S for an IRA. box D is for a SIMPLE 401k.

  • Marth

    i file our taxes online every year.
    my husband always has an”OC” code in box 12 of his W-2, i aways skip this item because online pograms dont provide this optionor allow a write in. what is it??

    • Kira Botkin

      That is an interesting question. I don’t find anything about this in the W2 instructions, but on other forms “OC” is used to denote a payment made to someone in another country. Could that be it?

      • Marth

        nope, my husband works in a steel mill in western PA. A family member suggested it’s an occupational tax taxed by the state? $52 this year i blieve $50 last timearound

  • F2bsfoster

    I work for the government and was deployed more than half of last year and the year before, they take taxes out of my check because we are classifed as DOD. Do you know how to ask for foreign tax forgivness to be able to receive all or most of what was paid in?

    • Kira Botkin

      I’m not sure what you mean – were taxes taken out by the government of the country you lived in? I have never heard that people working for the DOD in other countries have different tax rates than people who work in the US.

  • Keezodavis

    what if i have no codes on box 12?

    • Kira Botkin

      Then you didn’t have any of the special situations listed above, which is perfectly normal.

  • Jacque

    What does it mean if there is a DD in Box 12? could you explain that better?

    • Kira Botkin

      I will update the article – DD is the cost of employer-sponsored healthcare, which is not a taxable amount.

  • Carrotjuicex3

    I am using turbo tax but on my w-2 I have nothing in the 12a-d boxes. But turbo tax is saying to write the code and the amount. I don’t know what to write. Help!!


    • Kira Botkin

      If you don’t have anything, don’t put anything in.

  • Ieatbooks92

    my box says “D 12”. does the 12 matter? does that mean I need to write down code D and the amount?

    • Kira Botkin

      If $12 seems like a logical amount for you to have contributed to a 401k or SIMPLE retirement plan this year, yes.

    • Nicholas Jankowski

      I have one line with a D and a second line with a “D 12”, both followed by a dollar amount. on my w2 the instructions it says:

      “If a year follows code D, E, F, S, AA, BB or EE, you made a make-up pension contribution for a prior year(s) when you were in military service. To figure whether you made excess deferrals, consider these amounts for the year shown, not the current year. If no year is shown, the contributions are for the current year.”

  • angela

    i received my husbands w2 and in box 12 b there is an amount and the notation DD. Is this where they are reporting the value of our health insurance premiums ?
    in the past this area listed the amounts the employee pays and this year that amount in the box is much more than we paid for our health insurance.

    • angela

      ok, i figured it out.. the fine print on the back of these forms is hard to read.
      and the answer is yes it is related to healthcare.

      • Kira Botkin

        Yes, it is the cost of your employer-sponsored healthcare.



    • Kira Botkin

      The DD box is for the cost of employer sponsored healthcare and is not a taxable amount.

      • TATJANA


        • Kira Botkin

          Your tax program should have an drop down menu or something where you select which code you’re using. As long as you are sure that it is DD that you’re selecting, you should put in whatever is on your form next to DD.

  • Emailmeii

    What do we do with the box 12 dd? Where do I put it on what form 1040 or 1040ez?

    • Kira Botkin

      You don’t put it on the 1040 or 1040EZ. It doesn’t affect your taxable income, and you will send one of your W-2 copies in to the IRS with your 1040.

  • Efmyers

    on w2 wages 13.600 on box 12 DD it shows 13.135 is it a mistake

    • Kira Botkin

      Box 12 code DD shows the amount that your employer spent on your health insurance this year. It looks like you either have a very good health insurance plan, or a lot of kids. I have no way of knowing if this is a mistake – if you are concerned you should contact your employer.

  • Jimbo

    box 12a has Code A $414.00 listed. What is this ? I don’t have a job where I receive tips.

    • Kira Botkin

      You should contact whoever generated your W-2, sounds like there is an error.

  • Kris

    Since 12dd is the amount contributed by employer and is not taxable, turbo ask for the amount and code, should I put the amount in there
    Thx for your help

    • Kira Botkin


  • Erik Rønning

    I work for UPS; they provide healthcare (bluecross/blueshield). My box 12 has code DD, and lists ~$5,500. in the box. However in the past 12 months, I never saw a doctor once, no one else is covered on my plan, and I went to the dentist once for a cleaning. Is this a mistake? Or is it possible that the company just assigns a portion of their total overall cost to each employee because the reporting is mostly irrelevant?

    • Kira Botkin

      It doesn’t matter what services you actually consumed – that is the difference between insurance and a bank account. When you have insurance you do not pay just for the services you consume, you also pay for the services you might consume. So your company has to pony up some amount for every person that the insurance covers whether they incur any costs or not. Most people who have employer-provided insurance do not realize how small a fraction of their own healthcare costs they are actually paying.

      If you went a whole year without having any car accidents, would you expect your car insurance company to give you back the money? You were paying them money so that they would cover you if something happened – you weren’t paying as you go for stuff that DID happen.

  • Ed Jones

    My Box 12a says C – $19.35 Do I have to include this on my taxes? On line 2 of 1040ez?
    Also I have on line 12b DD 5000, Do I have to list this on 1040ez anyplace?

    • Kira Botkin

      The amount under code C is taxable income, yes. It should already be included in box 1, so you don’t need to add it again.
      The amount under code DD is not taxable and does not need to be added.

  • sb

    box 12b code w…

    says $1300 and drop down menu on codes says Employer contribution to HSA.

    I have an HSA, but the employer does not put in money…it all is paid by the employee.

    My company bean counter and the insurance company are miffed. Hope you can help

    • Kira Botkin

      If that isn’t correct, you need to go back to your company and ask for a correction. I am not clear why the company accountant is miffed in this situation.

  • Jt

    If you don’t have anything for 12 a-d do you just write 0 in the boxes? Turbo tax doesn’t let me continue unless you put something in

    • Kira Botkin

      If you absolutely have to I suppose you could but I would try very hard not to enter a value for something for which you don’t have a value.

  • Oliver

    This doesn’t tell me much. Where do these numbers go into on my federal return?

    • Kira Botkin

      They don’t. Any amount listed in a box 12 space has already been accounted for at the top of your W-2, by either adding it or subtracting it from your federal and state taxable income. There is a requirement for your employer to report each of these amounts to the federal government, and since they have to send the W-2 to the government anyway, that is the best way to do it. But you do not have to do anything with the numbers yourself.

  • Meg, Happy Kids, Inc

    Glad I found your post! We sold some NQSO this year. We received a 1099 that showed all the sales. It did not, however, show the federal and state taxes that we paid (that column was blank). But our monthly financial statement does indeed confirm that we had paid those taxes. Our financial broker says those taxes are reported on line 12V on our W2. But per your description (as well as the one on the actual W2), this says that it is income from that stock option sale. So, I am confused. I want to make sure we get credited for those taxes we paid. Thank you for your help.

    • Kira Botkin

      Does the amount in line 12V correspond to the amount you think you should have in there? If it is, I’d see if you can get some kind of statement from the broker showing all the taxes you paid that year, and hang onto those statements, and hopefully things will match up back at the IRS. If not, you should maybe have your broker go back to whoever’s responsible for generating those statements and make sure amount B didn’t get put on line A accidentally.

  • paul

    hi kira, my box 12 code dd amount =7,800.00 can this be right? and moreover this is killing my income tax return, last year I git back1300. this year it’s only 300. with this new code dd, is this right? i dont hear people saying that code dd reduced their returns drastically like it has mine.

    • Kira Botkin

      No, that should not affect anything. That is not taxable income. To see if your tax program has an error, go back and change the amount to $1 and see what happens. There are always minor changes to tax rules each year so you are very unlikely to get exactly the same amount back each year, and few people have exactly the same income and situation each year.

    • BeeGee

      my box 12 code is DD as well – the amount is $18,240 – My refund is about 1/4 of what I had expected it to be.

  • km

    on my W-2, box 12a has “C 2194.56” I had no other income that would qualify for 12a. Should this amount go in box 12c as I did have group-term life insurance

    • Kira Botkin

      If that is an appropriate amount for what you spent on the life insurance, I’d go ahead and do that, and include a note with your tax documents that that’s what you did. It sounds like somebody typoed.

  • Stephen Carmona

    Thank you Kira!

  • martin

    Can I claim the money amount on 12 dd in my W-2 to the company?

  • MediatorMagic

    Hi Kira, in box 12 , code DD, there is $22,000 for medical. Would this include the premiums that were deducted from my paycheck and amounts paid by my employer for medical insurance? I am interested in finding out my total income but do not want to include imputed income from an employer paying its share of my coverage. Thanks.

    • Just

      The code DD represent the portion of your health benefit that is paid by your employer. That does not include premiums that you paid. The code DD is not taxable to you neither . so you don’t need to include this amount in your income.

  • dashie

    do i need file w2 for code J (disability sick pay) I have different wages for box 1 and box 12J?

    • Just

      Box 1 shows the gross income and this does not mean that is the amount taxable to u. The amount in box 12 for code J is excluded from income. This means the amount in box 12 with code j reduce the amount reported in box 1 gross income

  • Alli

    If they’re are no amounts in Boxes 12 A-D I understand I put $0, what letter do I put if I have to put a letter for a $0 amout?

  • Jo Clevenger

    Hi Kira, So I want to clarify that DD is what the employer pays for health insurance, right? See, the reason I am confused is that my heath insurance was taken out of my check because I was paying for it monthly. My job does not offer insurance for part time employees so I agreed to pay around 60 every two weeks for insurance, so should this be considered DD? and if not where would I find out how much I paid for insurance to claim it? Thank you so much!!! :)

    • Just

      Code DD doesnot increase your taxable income. That is the amount your employer contributed to your health care. It has no impact on your taxable income

  • Echoecho1528

    I’m hoping someone can help me. I have income listed in box 12a code V that IS NOT included in my W-2’s box 1. Is this indicative of an error in the W-2?

  • AJ

    This is a useless post… sorry… but you’ve basically cut and paste from the back of every W-2 out there… no further info than that

    • AJ

      Let me retract half of that… there is useful information in the comments that you’ve gone through below. Perhaps make another post with the codes above and the comment resolution of what to do with it…

      • AJ


  • Mike

    I am retired, get pension, but get a separate W2 for cost of group life insurance, shows $2000 amount in Box 1 and in Box12a, Code C. Is this considered taxable compensation for figuring IRA contribution limit?

  • Brandi

    What code do you use for box 12 if there is a $ amount but no code?? I know the $ amount is for retirement, but I don’t know what code is supposed to be there

    • Just

      if its for retirement, the Code is usually a D.

  • Britt

    On my W2, in Box 12a, I have “12D” as the code and the amount. I tried entering just the amount in 12a without a code, but the tax site won’t allow me to. Do I enter the amount in in box 12D without a code? I’m not sure what to do.

  • Mm

    What do I put if I don’t receive health insurance or retirement ?

    • Just

      you don’t put anything if you don’t get the benefits

  • nightingale

    someone please help? My box 12 just just have 12a code see inst.for box 12…I do not understand a word of the ‘instructions’. Last year I was a union employee and they done all the heath stuff…

  • livi

    I need some help. My box 12b has an amount of $12.00 but there is no code. How do I know which code to chose?

    • Just

      you need to contact your payroll office for the code. They are the best individuals to point you to the correct direction

  • De

    I received a corrected w-2 after I filed my taxes. The only change was in 12a, code D for $1878. I filled out a 1040X but there were absolutely no changes to the amounts from the original 1040. Do I need to file this amended return?

    • Just

      The corrected $1878 in block 12a needs to be excluded from your gross income on block 1. This means your total income as reported on your form 1040 should be $1878 less.

  • ct

    Do I have to file a W-2c and a W-3c if I’m only changing the code in box 12A?

  • NH Sledder

    I am doing a hand written tax form 1040. What do I do with my 12a amount? Where do I put it on the form if at all? Thanks