This year, all employers have until January 31, 2013 to send W-2′s to their current and ex-employees. But how do you prepare you tax returns if you don’t receive your W-2 form(s) by mid February? What should you do?
Your first and the best option is to contact the employer directly. It is highly unlikely that the employer missed the deadline and didn’t send the forms. Be patient and allow a week or two, as the form is most likely in the mail. If the form does not arrive in reasonable time, there are two probabilities; one that the mail was misdelivered or that the employer does not have your current mailing address. If you moved then contact payroll department immediately; if you changed jobs and moved to a different city, the employer has little chances of delivering the forms to the right address.
The IRS can come to help in getting your W-2. If you already contacted your employer but still not received W-2 by February 14, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 and they will reach out to the employer for you. Before you call the IRS, have the following information handy:
- your information: name, complete address, social security number, and phone number to contact you
- employer’s information: name, address, phone number, dates when you were employed, your estimate of wages and taxes withheld (last pay stub may help to get that information)
You can proceed filing your taxes even without W-2 by using Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2 or Form 1099. The form itself is rather uncomplicated, just one page with plenty of instructions on how to complete it. The most difficult part of this form may be estimating various items. If you’re replacing Form W-2, some categories you have to estimate include wages, tips, and other compensation, taxes withheld (Social Security, Medicare, federal, state, or local income tax), and other payments. To replace Form 1099, be prepared to assess the following: gross distribution, taxes withheld, and taxable amount.
Finally, if you end up receiving your W-2 after filing taxes with a substitute form, you may be required to file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Tax Return. That would be necessary if the estimates you provided in Form 4852 are quite different from the actual numbers.