OMG! What Do I Do? I’m Missing a W2

By now, you should have received almost all of your tax documents in the mail – W2s, 1099s, and K-1s. Investment firms providing 1099s for interest dividends and brokerage transactions take a little longer but they normally mail the required documents by February 15.

It’s possible that you did not receive a W2 for a job you had last year. Perhaps you moved and failed to provide the employer with your new address. Or employer negligence – voluntary or involuntary – could be the issue. Perhaps the employer sold the business or filed bankruptcy or closed it down or left town and didn’t take care of this last bit of paperwork.

So what’s a girl to do?

The first thing to do is contact the employer to find out what went wrong. It may be as simple as providing a correct mailing address and waiting for the document to arrive. Or perhaps the boss can scan and email the document directly to you or to your tax pro.

If that fails and other contact attempts are fruitless, you could use your last pay stub to provide the information that would likely appear on your W2. Employers are required to provide year-to-date data on your paystub.

When filing an income tax returns, you must list your gross pay and the amount of taxes withheld.

A statement released by the IRS says, “If you can’t get a copy from your employer, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 after Feb. 23. The IRS will send a letter to your employer on your behalf. You’ll need the following when you call:

  • Your name, address, Social Security number and phone number;
  • Your employer’s name, address and phone number;
  • The dates you worked for the employer; and
  • An estimate of your wages and federal income tax withheld in 2014. You can use your final pay stub for these amounts.”

The deadline for filing your income tax return is April 15, 2015. If a W2 does not arrive by then, you could file for an extension of time to file to October 15, 2015. You can do this for free with IRS Free File. Regardless of whether you receive a W2 or not, make sure to file a tax return by the deadline. A failure to file penalty can be as high as 25% and a failure to pay penalty can be another 25% as well. It’s better to file a return using estimates of wages earned and taxes withheld than to not file a return at all. When you file in this manner, include Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, to provide your estimates or the figures from your last paystub.

Employers are required to provide the IRS with copies of all W2s given to employees. It usually takes the IRS until May to process and post this information. But once it’s online, you can request a transcript of your tax data. Use the IRS website tool to Get Transcript of your tax information. No state wages and withholding amounts will be provided through this venue. You must contact the state separately to acquire that data.

If you receive your W2 after you have filed your income tax return and the data on the W2 is different than what you reported, you may file an amended income tax return to report the differences and recalculate the taxes. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return to make the change.