How to Read Your W-2 Tax Form Lesson

In this lesson students will learn about the W-2 tax form from the IRS, which is an important document required for filing your taxes that you receive from your employer. We will understand the different boxes and sections of the W-2 form that provide information about your earnings and taxes withheld by your employer during the previous year.


Use this video lesson on the topic of understanding the IRS W-2 form. Learn basic tax and related concepts of:

  • W-2 form
  • IRS tax form
  • Tax filing
  • Taxable income
  • Withholding taxes
  • Social Security tax
  • Medicare tax
  • Federal income tax
  • Employer identification number
  • Tips reporting
  • Dependent care benefits
  • Deferred compensation income
  • State and local income tax


9-12th grades. High School. Adult Education.


25-35 minutes. It may be necessary to adjust the lesson plan and allocate more or less time to certain topics, depending on the needs and interests of the students.


Hand out the worksheet below (see the GET LESSON button near the bottom of the page).

Show students the video and have and have them complete the worksheet.  Review the questions on the worksheet.  A more comprehensive and detailed lesson plan can be accessed below for further instruction and study.

How to Read Your W-2 Tax Form

After watching the video, have students tell what the most important things they learned from the video.

Additional Resources

See our additional resources on taxes:


Lesson Plan: How to Read the W-2 Tax Form

Subject: Personal Finance/Taxation

Grade Level: High School

Objective: Students will be able to identify and understand the different boxes and information provided in the W-2 tax form.


  • Video: “How to Read the W-2 Tax Form”
  • Copies of a sample W-2 tax form for each student
  • Pen/pencil


Introduction (5 minutes):
Begin by asking students if they have ever received a W-2 tax form. Discuss the purpose of the W-2 and why it’s important to understand it.

Video (10 minutes):
Show the video “How to Read the W-2 Tax Form” to the class.

Review of W-2 Form (20 minutes):
Distribute a sample W-2 tax form to each student. Go over each box and the information provided in it. Allow students to ask questions as you go over each box.

Practice (15 minutes):
Ask students to work in pairs and identify the information in each box of the W-2 form. Encourage them to discuss the meaning of each box and how it relates to their own income.

Quiz (10 minutes):
Distribute a multiple-choice quiz on the W-2 tax form to each student. Students will answer questions based on the information learned in the video and review.

Conclusion (5 minutes):
Review the quiz results with the class and address any questions or concerns. Remind students of the importance of understanding the W-2 tax form and its impact on filing taxes.

Students will be assessed through their participation in the practice activity and quiz.

For an extension activity, have students research and compare different tax forms such as 1099 and 1040. Have them identify the differences in the forms and what types of income they are used for.


How to Read Your W-2 Tax Form

How to Read the W-2 Tax Form


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For additional related lessons, explore our main category pages:

Categories Earning Money, Taxes,

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