If you don’t receive a W-2 form or you receive an incorrect W-2, you may ask, “How do I get a copy of my W-2?” Your employer must provide all employees with a completed IRS Form W-2 at the end of January. The W-2 reports any employee compensation to the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and your state’s tax agency. The W-2 form also records how much Social Security tax and income taxes were withheld from earnings. All U.S. employers and legal employees must pay Social Security tax. You need a correct W-2 to file a tax return.
According to Social Security Administration, employers send W-2 forms to employees no later than January 31. If you don’t receive the W-2 by the end of January or you receive a W-2 that’s incorrect, there’s no reason to worry. Many people are faced with this problem. Perhaps your employer went out of business or the company’s merger and acquisition activity caused the delay. In most cases, the employer has until Valentine’s Day (February 14th) to send the W-2 to you. The Internal Revenue Service recommends taking up to four steps to get an accurate W-2:
Step 1: Find Your W-2 Online
Many employer firms now make employees’ W-2 forms accessible online because many firms and employees submit income taxes on the Internet. After you access the W-2, it’s your choice to file online or download and print the W-2 with your paper tax return.
If you use popular tax software preparation programs, you may be pleasantly surprised. You’ll receive either a link to your online W-2 or receive instructions on how to find it. You won’t need to wait for USPS to deliver your tax form.
Many employers, including the armed forces, provide access to employees’ W-2 forms online. Your employer will probably alert its staff about W-2 online access. If your employer provides online access to your tax information, you’ll have the option to file your tax return earlier in the year. You also have the option to avoid filing a physical return and, if you overpaid taxes, get your refund earlier.
Step 2: Call Your Employer
Call your employer’s Human Resources division and explain your problem. Ask the company to issue the W-2 form (or correct the W-2 form you received). Remind the employer that it has up to February 14 to deliver the W-2 to you.
Put your request in writing when possible. For instance, follow up the phone call with a short written request or send an email with confirmed reader receipt. Avoid sending your request to a general delivery email address. Ask the person to whom the request is made for their name and contact information.
Step 3: Contact the Internal Revenue Service
If you don’t receive the W-2 form from your employer by February 14, contact the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-829-1040. Explain the problem and ask for help. Provide your contact details (name, phone number, physical address), Social Security number, your employment dates (when you started working for the company and/or when you left), and the payer-employer’s name, physical-mail address, and phone number.
After February 14, IRS calls the employer on your behalf to request the missing tax form. In most cases, the employer will send the missing or corrected W-2 to you right away.
Step 4: File Your Tax Return with IRS Form 4852
Filing a tax return without a correct W-2 form will delay its processing. If you haven’t received a copy of your W-2 by February 14, you may prepare a substitute. Complete Form 4852 as a substitute for your W-2 or Form 1099. You may automatically receive a copy of the form if you contacted IRS, as above.
To complete the form, list all compensation received from your employer including wages and tips. List the amount of tax withholding, including FICA-Social Security tax you paid. This information should be provided on your paycheck stubs. If you can’t find the information on paycheck stubs, visit My Social Security Account or contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance.
If the missing or revised W-2 appears after you file Form 4852 and your tax return, compare the information on both forms. If you send inaccurate information, file Form 1040x to amend it or contact the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-829-1040.