For the last few days, ABC News has aired segments on the W-2 verification code. To our ears, it sounds like everyone should expect this wonderful feature on their W-2. Unfortunately only one in four W-2s (about 60 million) are expected to have the code this year.

W-2 Verification Code History

The verification code is actually a great idea. The program was implemented for 2016 filing season (2015 W-2 forms) as a way to combat tax-related identity theft and return fraud. In the first year, the IRS partnered with 4 major payroll service providers who added a 16 digit verification code to Box 9. The first year goal was to add the code to approximately 1.5 million W-2s. With the success of the first year, the IRS has been increasing the scope of the pilot program. Each year the IRS increases the number of participants in the pilot program.

W-2 Box 9

W-2 Verification Code


If your employees watched a news segment on the verification code¬† they may have questions. Here’s information about the verification code from the IRS:

IRS: W-2 verification code



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