Step 1- Don't panic.

Now that the holidays are over, we’re quickly approaching everyone’s other favorite (read: stressful) time of year: tax time. As business owners scramble to get W-2 forms out to employees, said employees are also eager to get their form to begin filing taxes.

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Employers have until January 31 to deliver Form W-2s to employees, so bookmark this article until then in case there are any issues. Note: If an employer is mailing W-2s to employees, they must be postmarked by January 31 and may take a week or two to arrive.

Here are four things you should do if by mid-February you’re still missing your W-2:

1.  Contact your employer’s human resources department. If the form was supposed to be mailed, there’s a chance your address was written incorrectly. Ensure that your employer has your correct mailing address on file and allow for a reasonable amount of time for them to resend or re-issue your Form W-2.

2.  Contact the IRS. If you’ve had no luck with contacting your employer (like if they’ve gone out of business or you left on bad terms), you can contact the IRS for help. You can call 800-829-1040 or visit an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC). Both options will result in an IRS rep initiating a Form W-2 complaint on your behalf.

It’s important to note that you have a recent pay statement handy when contacting the IRS as you’ll have to provide them with the following information:

·   Your name

·   Your address

·   Social Security number

·   Phone number

·   Employer’s name

·   Employer’s address

·   Employer’s phone number

·   Employer Identification Number (EIN) – [This would be on your prior year’s W-2 if you worked for the company in previous years.]

·   An estimate of earned wages

·   Federal income tax withheld

When you worked for that employer during the previous year – The estimate should be based on year-to-date information from your final pay statement or leave and earnings statement.

From here, the IRS will contact your employer for you. They will request the missing or corrected Form W-2 and make the employer aware of the ensuing penalties.** The IRS will also send you a Form 4852, a substitute for Form W-2.

3.  Maintain timeliness. You’re still required to file your tax return, request an extension to file and make your first estimated tax payment by April 18, 2016. If you haven’t received your Form W-2 by April 18, 2016 and have completed steps 1 and 2, you may use Form 4852. Note: There may be a delay in any refund while the information on this form is verified.

4.  File a Form 1040X. There are some cases where 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 tax return. If so, you must amend your return by filing a Form 1040X Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

**Penalties: According to LegalZoom, the IRS can assign a penalty of $30 per W-2 if the company is no more than 30 days late, with the maximum fine totaling $250,000. However, if the employer is more than 30 days late, the IRS can charge $100 per W-2 with the maximum being $1.5 million.

Tax season doesn’t have to be a drag. As long as you get organized now, you’ll have everything you need for effortless filing.  

In addition, here are some helpful links for special circumstances.

· General instructions for filing W-2 & W-3:

· Correcting your Social Security Earnings Record:

· IRS details on missing W-2:

Please note that this is not all inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice or render a legal opinion. Consult your own legal advisor regarding specific application of the information to your own plan.