Career Advice

“Can I Have 2 W2 Jobs?”: Tax and Other Considerations

Rising costs of everything from essentials like food to your utility bills can put a strain on your budget. This makes it tempting to get a second job, but you’re probably asking yourself “Can I have 2 W2 jobs?” Let’s take a look at the laws covering this and how two jobs can affect your taxes.

Is It Legal to Work Two Full-Time Jobs at the Same Time?

Many people now hold down two jobs. This is easy to do with so many full-time jobs being worked from home.

It often doesn’t require a full 40 hours to complete the work that these remote jobs require. This frees up more than enough time for a second job, but is it legal? You’ll be happy to know that it is not illegal to have two full-time jobs, but it may not be as straightforward as you might think.

How Two Jobs Could Affect Your Taxes

Your employer withholds taxes and you pay income taxes. This is dictated by state laws. If you were hired to work at home by an employer in a different state from where you live, things can get tricky.

Your out-of-state boss may assume you’re a resident of their state. Their state and your home state’s revenue departments may need to question everyone involved if this causes complications on your taxes at the end of the year.

The pandemic created even more complications. During the pandemic, some of the states decided to not tax out-of-state employees working from home. Other states didn’t do this.

To add to the confusion, many of these states considered these exemptions to be temporary, while others put them in place indefinitely. Many of the temporary exemptions have already expired, or soon will. Unfortunately, exemptions that were meant to help employees out have now turned into a mess where states with contradictory rules could actually be putting you in a position where you’re double taxed.

If you’re trying to hold down two jobs, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you’re not accidentally violating any tax laws. Always consult a CPA or tax attorney about your state’s laws of you have any doubts.

Moonlighting Clauses

If you take on a second job, you are moonlighting. You need to make sure that your first job’s employment contract doesn’t forbid moonlighting. Anti-moonlighting policies and clauses restrict you from doing work outside of their company.

If you take on a second job when one of these clauses is in your employee contract, your boss could fire you if they find out. You could also be sued for breach of contract.

There are exceptions. Anti-moonlighting policies depend on your state’s laws.

Some states don’t allow employers to fire a worker for off-duty activities, as long as they are legal. Others permit firing an employee for moonlighting, and then there are some that protect employees only in certain situations.

Those states don’t permit firing unless working for two companies is a conflict of interest. It is well worth your time to look into your state’s laws before taking on a second job. Be sure to read all contracts carefully before signing them.

At-Will Employees

While researching moonlighting laws in your state, understand that you can still be fired, even if you’re following the rules. Almost all states offer at-will employment as their law.

This means that an employer can dismiss an employee at any time, as long as the reason isn’t discriminating or illegal. If your boss finds out about your second job and feels betrayed or gets angry, they can fire you, even if you’re a good worker.

What Happens if You Have Two W-2 Forms?

The IRS requires all worker’s wages to be reported on a Wage and Tax Statement at the end of each year. This statement is commonly known as a W-2. It includes all compensation received by an employee, and it includes all of the taxes withheld.

It’s important to report all of your income from every source in order to avoid an IRS audit. If you only have one job, you’ll only have one W-2 to worry about. Once you take on a second job, you’ll have two W-2s at the end of the year.

Both W-2s have to be reported when you file your taxes for the year. By accounting for all of your income sources, you ensure that all of your taxes are paid and that you’ll get your full refund.

All employers have to issue W-2s by January 31. If you work two jobs, you have to wait until you get both W-2s before you can file your taxes.

Your employers are also required to report your earnings. If you don’t report both W-2s, the IRS will know.

Can I Work on Multiple W-2 at Same Time?

You certainly can work on multiple W-2s at the same time. When you work for more than one employer during the year, the time frame in which you work can impact whether you owe taxes or get a refund.

If you work for more than one employer at the same time, there’s a greater probability that you’ll owe more on your taxes than was withheld. This is due to having two incomes at the same time.

An example of having two incomes at the same time would be when you are working one job during the day and going to a second job in the evening. On the other hand, if you worked for one company during the first half of the year and the second employer during the second half of the year, you aren’t working two jobs at the same time and likely will have had the right amount of taxes withheld. You may even get a refund.

In Conclusion

If you are considering taking on a second job, be sure to do your research. Look into your state’s laws and do a little online digging such as on Reddit to get a better understanding of how difficult it may be to hold down two full-time jobs.

Read all employee contracts carefully. Moonlighting clauses do exist, and your employer may have placed one in your employee agreement. You also want to make sure this second job doesn’t interfere with your main career.

Your biggest concern will be your taxes. Avoid any complications by asking your tax accountant for help.

So in conclusion, can I have 2 W2 jobs? Yes. As long as you are following all company and state rules, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits that come with a second income.

Disclaimer: The details provided in this article should not be construed as legal advice and do not serve as an alternative to such advice. Laws at the state and federal levels are often updated, and the content in this piece might not align with the laws specific to your state or the most recent legal changes. Neither the author nor Eggcellentwork will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of the information in this article.

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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