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missing lost or incorrect w-2 formEvery year we receive inquiries from employees that haven't received their W-2 from their employer... or that their employer went out of business and they didn't get a W-2 from them.  Please feel free to share this with anyone you know that might be in that predicament.  Here are 4 steps employees can take to make sure they have what they need to file their tax return on time. 

Employees should receive a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement from each of their employers where they worked during 2010.  Employers have until January 31, 2011 to send you a 2010 Form W-2 earnings statement.  If an employer is mailing W-2s to their employees, they must be postmarked by January 31st and may take a week or so to arrive.  If you haven’t received your W-2 by mid-February, follow these four steps:

  1. Contact Your Employer:  If you have not received your W-2, contact your employer to inquire if and when the W-2 was mailed.  If it was mailed, it may have been returned to the employer because of an incorrect or incomplete address.  After contacting the employer, allow a reasonable amount of time for them to resend or to issue the W-2.
  2. Contact the IRS:  If you do not receive your W-2 by February 14th and you have already contacted your employer, you can call the IRS for assistance at 800-829-1040.  You can also visit an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC).  When you call or visit the IRS, you’ll need to provide the following information:

    – Your name, address, city and state, including zip code, Social Security number, and phone number

    – Your employer’s name, address, city and state, including zip code, phone number and employer identification number (if known… which would be on your prior year’s W-2 if you worked for them in 2009)

    – An estimate of the wages you earned, the Federal income tax withheld, and when you worked for that employer during 2010.  The estimate should be based on year-to-date information from your final pay stub or leave-and-earnings statement, if possible

    Based on the information you provide to the IRS, they will contact your employer for you, request the missing W-2 form and advise your employer of the penalties for failing to issue and file W-2s.  The IRS will also send you a Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2.  The purpose of Form 4852 is to serve as a substitute for Forms W-2, W-2c, and 1099-R.  Form 4852 is completed by taxpayers when their employer does not give them a Form W-2 or when an employer has issued an incorrect Form W-2.
  3. File Your Return:  You still must file your tax return or request an extension to file by April 18, 2011 even if you do not receive your Form W-2.  If you have not received your Form W-2 by April 18th, and have completed steps 1 and 2, you may use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement which the IRS sent you.  Attach Form 4852 to the return, estimating income and withholding taxes as accurately as possible.  There may be a delay in any refund due while the information is verified.
  4. File a Form 1040X:  On occasion, you may receive your missing W-2 after you filed your return using Form 4852, and the information may be different from what you reported on your return.  If this happens, you must amend your return by filing a Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.  The Instructions for Form 1040X may provide you with additional details and guidance if you need to file an amended tax return.

View More Information from the IRS on Incorrect or Lost W-2s


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