W-2 for those who had a J1: here's all you want to know about it (once you get back from the USA)

Every year a huge number of students askfor a permit to go to the USA. Most of them opt for a J1 visa. Last year forexample about 90.000 were accepted to work in USA with a J1.

J1 visa is meant for students enrolled in college or university from all around theworld who wish to make an intercultural experience in their summer holidays upto 4 months. The aim is to work and learn, to share culture with locals. Jobsare for everyone, with no previous experience. In fact, the most frequent joboffers are in hospitality sector and restaurants.

The W2 form 

No matter what kind of job you had, every employer must issue the W2 form for you if you earned at least 600 dollars - this including taxable benefits. It is not based upon working hours or position held. Only on the amount of money your employer paid you. Social Security and Medicare can be deducted, but only for those who work at least 183 days in the USA - so they should not be deducted for J-1 visa holders.

As a matter of fact, the process is a bit troubling: an employer fills out six copies of W-2 per employee. Please keep your W-2 because you might need it to file your tax return and/or to get your tax refund. W2 is not required to file your Federal tax return but it is required to file tax return from several states. Your employer is legally obliged to send your W-2 by the end of January. (e.g. Your 2017 W-2 has to be sent by end of January 2018) 

What is in the W-2 form?

First of all, the form is split in two parts: on the left side taxpayer information’s are reported, the right one is filled with financial amounts.
Now, carefully check the left side and look for your Social Security Number (SSN) and your name - as it is on your SSN. This are important boxes. Errors in these sections might lead to rejection of your tax return. In case there are also mistakes in your address you need to report it to your employer, but it will probably not lead to any other exclusion by the tax office.

In the right side, from the top you will find the total taxable wages – including tips and any other compensation-, the amount withheld for federal taxes; the total wage subject to the Social Security and then the amount withheld for the SSN. The same for Medicare taxes. Then the tips, and at very end your benefits. 

How to get your overpaid taxes back 

In case you do not have your W-2 form yet (typically before end of the year or in early January), you can apply for federal tax refund with your final cumulative payslip which you received with the last pay cheque. Final payslip can be used for filing your state tax return but there are many states that require W2 so you have to wait and file your state tax return after you receive W-2.

How long does it take? 

You might wait 3 - 6 month for your federal tax refund depending on when did you file the return. State refund might take 3-9 months depending on when you filed the return and respective state. 

Dendax can help you to file your federal and state tax return. We guarantee the highest possible LEGAL refund. You can calculate how much you can get back by using our FREE online calculator or you can register and pay only after you receive the refund.