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Check box on W2 for 401k

From the IRS-
Active participant
Generally, an employee is an active participant if covered by a:

defined contribution plan (for example, a 401(k) plan) for any tax year and is credited with any contributions or forfeitures, or
defined benefit plan for any tax year that the employee is eligible to participate.

Question is does the employee have to be contributing to have this box checked?


  • It has been a while since I looked at this, but my understanding is that if either the employee or the employer put anything into the 401(k), this box is checked. If anyone knows differently, please say so.

  • That's what I thought too, but was starting to doubt myself.

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