CO Solution Center Help

Mon - Fri, 8:00am - 5:00pm

Phone: (415) 476-2126

W-2 Frequently Asked Questions

The IRS Form W‐2 reports taxable earnings paid to employees between January 1 and December 31 of each calendar year. Taxable earnings are gross payments less any tax deferred deductions, such as retirement plans, pre‐tax parking, employee‐paid health premiums, and Dependent/Health FSA. The W‐2 also provides the Social Security Administration (SSA) with the necessary information so that employees’ earnings are properly credited. The SSA shares employees’ earnings and tax information with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

W-2 Distribution

Employees who have not enrolled to receive their W-2 electronically may enroll through UCPath online.

  • Employees will be notified via their personal email recorded in UCPath when tax forms are available for secure retrieval from UCPath online.
  • For employees electing to receive paper copies of current year tax forms, all forms will be mailed to the home address contained in UCPath.

The UCPath Center establishes deadlines for employees to opt in to an electronic W-2 and to verify their personal email and home address in UCPath online for each tax year. Deadlines are announced in UCnet and on the Controller’s Office website news page.

Prior Year Distributions

Prior year tax forms from 2021 onward are available in UCPath online.

Due to the transition to UCPath in 2020, most UCSF employees received two W-2 and two 1095-C forms for the 2020 tax year.

  • W-2 and 1095-C forms for earnings and benefits received before the UCPath transition are available in At Your Service Online (AYSO).
  • W-2 forms for earnings received after the UCPath transition are available in UCPath online.
  • 1095-C forms for benefits received after the UCPath transition were not available electronically in UCPath online and were mailed.

For 2019 and prior, W-2s for pay issued from PPS, UCSF's legacy payroll system, will continue to be available from AYSO for the periods required under applicable tax laws and UC contracts.

Questions about a W‐2 distribution can be directed to the Controller's Office Solution Center.

W-2 Delivery Method FAQs

When viewing my W-2 in UCPath online, the form is blank or the information is out of alignment with the boxes.

Try accessing UCPath online using a different web browser. For the best UCPath Online experience, use one of the following web browsers:

  • Google Chrome (Version 91)
  • Firefox (Version 89)
  • Microsoft Edge (Version 91)
  • Safari (Version 14)

Note: Internet Explorer 11 is no longer a supported browser. UCPath online pages may appear blank or not fully load.

For alignment issues, try printing your W-2.

If you continue to experience issues, contact the UCPath Center.

I cannot access my W-2 online on AYSO.

All current and separated employees (within 18 months after separation) have access to At Your Service Online (AYSO). If you have trouble with access, please contact the Controller's Office Solution Center.

How can I change my W-2 delivery method?

You can elect to receive future W-2s by mail or electronically in UCPath online. Review the Enroll to Receive Online W-2 software simulation to see, try, or print the steps needed to change your election in UCPath online (MyAccess login required). The UCPath Center establishes a unique deadline for employees to change the delivery method for each tax year. Deadlines are announced in UCnet and on the Controller’s Office website news page.

How do I get a duplicate copy of my W‐2? I lost it or never received it.

Employees can log into UCPath online and the At Your Service Online (AYSO) website to securely view and print duplicate copies of W-2s. Please take the opportunity to elect the convenience and security of the online W‐2 delivery method for next year. Questions about a duplicate W‐2 can be directed to the Controller's Office Solution Center.

Can you fax me a copy of my W‐2?

No. Privacy regulations prohibit the faxing of W‐2s. Employees who need a duplicate W‐2 must access UCPath online to view and print duplicate copies of their own W‐2.

W-2 Details FAQs

I did not work last year, so why did I receive a W‐2?

For tax reporting purposes, wages are reported in the calendar year in which they are paid, rather than when they are earned. You may have worked during December of the prior year but received your pay on or after the first banking day of the following year. Also, you may have received an accrued vacation leave pay out (Terminal Vacation Pay) or Incentive Award Program (IAP) bonus in a separate payment from your final earnings.

Why aren’t my December earnings reflected in my W‐2?

For tax reporting purposes, wages are reported when they are paid, rather than when they are earned. For employees paid monthly, December earnings are paid on the first banking day in January and are therefore reported in the new tax year. Similarly for employees paid biweekly, hours worked in December may not be paid until January, and are not reflected on your W-2.

Why do the amounts on my W‐2 differ from my last earnings statement/check stub year‐to‐date totals?

Payroll Services has time prior to issuing the W‐2 to make earnings adjustments. These adjustments may result from the processing of employee salary overpayments recovery and other end‐of‐year transactions.

Why does Box 1 not agree with my annual salary?

Box 1 reflects your taxable gross earnings. Taxable gross earnings are your total gross earnings less any tax‐deferred deductions or salary reductions, such as:

  • DCP ‐ Mandatory Defined Contribution Plan
  • 403(b) and 457(b) ‐ Voluntary contributions to tax deferred investment programs
  • Salary reductions due to Furlough, Leave without Pay, or Worker’s Compensation payments from UC’s third‐party administrator
  • DepCare ‐ Dependent Care deductions
  • Health FSA ‐ Health Care reimbursement Account contributions
  • Pre‐tax transportation and parking deductions
  • Employee‐paid Health Insurance premium deductions

Why is there a difference in the amounts in boxes 1, 3 and 5?

Box 1 contains your total federal taxable gross pay. Some deductions (such as DCP and 403(b)/457(b) deductions) reduce taxable gross but DO NOT reduce Social Security and Medicare gross amounts.

Box 3 contains your total wages that are subject to Social Security taxes. Social Security’s Old‐ Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program limits the amount of earnings subject to taxation for a given year. The limit, also known as the contribution and benefit base, is established by the IRS.

Box 5 contains your total wages subject to Medicare taxes. In contrast to OASDI, there is no annual limit on wages subject to Medicare withholding. However, there may be an additional Medicare Tax.

You can consult current and historical contribution and benefit bases from the Social Security Administration.

Why are Box 3 and Box 4 blank?

If Box 3 and Box 4 are left blank, you may be contributing to DCP Safe Harbor (in place of OASDI). If you are contributing to this plan, deductions are not taken for Social Security and there is nothing to report. For more details regarding DCP Safe Harbor, please view this link.

Will UC Retirement Program (UCRP) contributions be reported on my W-2?

UCRP contributions will appear in Box 14, and Box 13 for Retirement Plan will be checked. Your UCRP contributions have already been factored into your taxable income included in Box 1.

I am not a career employee, why is Box 13 ‐ Retirement Plan, checked?

If you had any DCP deductions at any time during the year (DCP‐CAS, DCP‐REGULAR or both) Box 13 will be checked. Participation in DCP is mandatory. The only exception to DCP deductions are for students who are enrolled at least half time during academic sessions or non‐resident aliens who are present in the U.S. under the F‐1 or J‐1 visa programs.

Is the DCP amount in Box 14 a type of mandatory tax?

No. DCP (Defined Contribution Plan) is not a tax; it is a mandatory savings plan for retirement purposes.

What do DCP‐CAS and DCP‐REGULAR mean?

DCP‐CAS is the Defined Contribution Plan for limited status employees, who are not members of the UC Retirement Plan. It is also referred to as the "Safe Harbor" plan.

DCP‐REGULAR is the Defined Contribution Plan for career employees who are members of the UC Retirement Plan.

What is the Other Income amount on my W‐2?

This amount is non‐payroll income that is taxable. Common examples: taxable travel, taxable moving expenses, or training and educational grants paid to you or on your behalf.

Will my union dues or agency fee deductions amount appear on my W‐2?

No. Union dues and agency fees are not itemized on your W‐2.

Is my fellowship/scholarship included on the W‐2?

No, qualified fellowship/scholarship payments to individuals who are 100% appointed as a postdoctoral fellow/scholar are not considered income for services rendered and are therefore not included on the W‐2. It is possible, however, for a postdoctoral fellow/scholar to have a postdoctoral scholar employee supplement. Any earnings, supplemental salary, or imputed income would be reflected on a W‐2.

I am a non-resident alien, and some of my earnings are exempt from Federal taxation due to an Income Tax Treaty between the US and my home country. Why did I receive a W‐2?

Generally, non-resident alien employees will receive an IRS Form 1042‐S to document earnings entirely covered by an approved tax treaty. However, it is common for non-resident alien employees to also receive a W‐2. Examples include employees who have become residents for tax reporting purposes, where tax treaty income dollar limits or time limits have been exceeded, or under other special circumstances.

Where is State Disability Insurance (SDI) on my W‐2?

UC does not deduct SDI from your paychecks, so it is not reported on your W‐2. The Defined Contribution Plan (DCP) amount displayed in Box 14 is NOT UC’s equivalent to SDI. If your tax preparation software or tax professional asks you for information about SDI deductions, you should state that UC does not deduct SDI. Also, please do not confuse SDI with OASDI as they are completely different.

My tax preparation software asks me to put in my employer’s street address, but I do not see that on my W‐2 for 2020 and prior years. Which address should I use?

You can use the following mailing address:

University of California, San Francisco
1855 Folsom Street, Suite 425
San Francisco, CA 94103

Who can I contact if I need tax advice or instruction on how to file my W‐2?

As the University cannot dispense tax advice, please refer tax‐related questions to your tax professional.

W-2 Error Correction FAQs

The Social Security Number, name, and/or address on my W‐2 are not correct, what can I do?

The Social Security Number and the name on the W‐2 must match the Social Security Number and name on your Social Security card. If they do not, then the W‐2 is incorrect, and you may need a W-2C (corrected W-2) after your payroll record is updated by your departmental HR Representative.

A W‐2C is not, however, required for a change of address. If the address is wrong or outdated on your W‐2, you are encouraged to promptly correct your address by using UCPath online, or by asking your departmental HR Representative to process the change. However, a corrected W‐2 is not required for a change of address, and it will not be issued.

Whom can I contact if I feel there is an error?

If you feel there is an error on your W‐2, you may direct your question to the Controller's Office Solution Center.