Solving the Mystery of a Missing W-2

For the average American, April showers bring¬†both May flowers and lots of time spent trying to navigate tax returns. What if you’re still missing a W-2 from your employer?

Despite the January 31st deadline imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, some employers aren’t so reliable when it comes to sending out W-2s on time. This form, which outlines income, federal and state withholdings, retirement plan participation, and more, is among the most important items for the average tax filer. Moving forward without one can be quite a burden, so here’s what to do if you still don’t have access to that vital tax form. Consulting a reliable CPA firm about preparing and filing your taxes is always recommended.

Ask Your Employer

Speaking to your payroll or HR department is often the easiest way to secure a lost or mishandled W-2. Check to be sure your name, address, and email address are correct in your company database to avoid further issues.

Ask the IRS

If you changed jobs, worked for a company that is now closed, or are having issues communicating with the powers that be, notifying the IRS is the next step. They can send a letter to your employer requesting the proper forms on your behalf. Be prepared with your company’s name, address, and phone number, in addition to your dates of employment and an estimate of both wages and taxes withheld before reaching out. This information should be available on your final pay-stub.

File Your Return Without Your W-2

A missing tax form is no excuse for filing late, so don’t skip the deadline just because you’re still in W-2 limbo. In lieu of an official W-2 form, ask a professional CPA firm about attaching Form 4852, also known as the Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, instead. This form allows you to estimate wages and taxes withheld in order to include this information in your return. Note that using this method instead of a W-2 may delay your refund.

If your employer went out of business or otherwise ceased operations, your CPA can forward Form 4852 to your local Social Security Administration office as well to ensure credit is received for any Medicare and Social Security tax withheld. If you worked for multiple employers in 2016 and exceeded the $118,500 base wage between them, you may be eligible for a credit for overpaid Social Security tax. If this is the case, be sure to include the estimated amount of the credit on your 1040.

File Form 1040X

In some instances, you may receive your W-2 after the filing deadline. If the results match what you filed on Form 4852, you do not need to take further action. However, if there are material differences, filing Form 1040X to amend your return may be required to correct any errors in reporting.

Tax season isn’t usually much fun, especially if you’re missing one or more W-2s.

If you want to breathe a little easier this year, Klein Hall CPAs can help! Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive tax preparation and planning services, and see how simple tax season can be!