Your 3-Step Plan To Reclaiming a Rogue W-2

“When will I get my refund?”

“How much will I get?”

These are the two most common questions people ask when tax season comes around, both of which depend on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. Before you file this year’s tax return, you should have received a W-2 from each of your employers. Per IRS guidelines, companies had until January 31 to mail out the forms, but sometimes they are late, or misplaced, or sometimes they just get lost altogether. If you are caught in the predicament of a missing W-2, follow these three steps to recovery.

Tax Return Money

Don’t let a missing W-2 stop you from getting a refund

Contact Your Employer

Be understanding that employers may be experiencing filing delays during the end-of-year rush. Wait it out a bit. But if it’s been two weeks or more since the Jan. 31 deadline and you still haven’t received your W-2; check with your payroll office to make sure that they have the correct mailing address on file. An incomplete address will also result in non-delivery. If everything checks out, ask for a “reissued statement.”

For active-duty military members, if the MyPay system isn’t an option for you, consider these alternatives.

It’s possible that, on occasion, employers are unwilling or unable to provide a duplicate. Then what should you do?

Contact the IRS

Call the IRS for help at 800-829-1040. The agency will note a missing W-2 on your behalf and contact your employer for a replacement. The IRS asks you to have the following handy before calling:

  • Employer’s name, address, city and state, zip code and phone number
  • Your name, address, phone number and SSN number
  • Dates of employment
  • An estimate of your wages earned and federal income tax withheld

The Do-It-Yourself W-2

Despite a missing W-2, you must still file your individual return by April 15. Use Form 4852 as an estimate of your statement. It is a bit tricky to complete, but doable. You are responsible for calculating as accurately as possible your earnings and withholdings,  so get out last year’s paystubs and add up the gross income from each pay period. And be sure to account for federal and state taxes as well as Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld through all pay periods.

IRS takes some time to verify the information provided, so be prepared to wait.

You may get a 6-month filing extension with Form 4868. It does not, however, grant extension for tax payments. You must still pay by the original due date and if you’ve had to estimate, overestimate a little just to be safe (the IRS charges penalties for shortfalls).

If that missing-in-action W-2 decides to turn up in your mailbox and gives different information that what you’ve filed, you will need to amend your returns with Form 1040X.

Photo courtesy 401(k) 2013