Before filing for a tax return, one should ensure that he or she has all the necessary documents, which include Forms W-2. Every taxpayer should receive a Form W-2, Wage and Tax statement from each employer. These documents should be mailed to you by January 31 of each year to enable you file your return for the previous tax year. However, if you do not receive these documents in this time frame, do not panic. Here are four steps to follow:
- Get in touch with your employer:
In case you have not received your W-2 forms, call each employer and find out if and when it was mailed. Perhaps the form may have been returned to the employer if you gave an incorrect or incomplete address. By getting in touch with the employer, you will be certain of how long to wait for it to be resent.
- Call the IRS:
If you still don’t have your W-2 by the 14th of February, call the IRS for assistance on 800-829-1040. You will be required to give your full name, address, Social Security Number (SSN), phone number, and also be in possession of other critical pieces of information like: employer’s details (name, address, and phone number), dates of employment, and an estimate of the wages earned, as well as the amount of Federal income tax withheld. Remember that your wage estimation should be based on accurate and proper information.
- Start filing your return:
Even with the W-2 missing, you still need to file your tax return or at least request for an extension. In case by the due date you still have not received your W-2 Form and you are already done with steps 1 and 2, you can use Form 4852, which is a substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. Attach this substitute form and accurately estimate income and withholding taxes. Be warned though that there may be a delay in the receipt of any refund while the information given is being verified.
- File a Form 1040X if you have to
In the event that you receive the W-2 just after filing your return using the substitute Form 4852, you may have to file a Form 1040X. This only applies on the occasion that the information previously given in the Form 4852 is different from the actual one in the W-2. The 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, thus allows you to amend your return.