Employers are required by law to send its employees a W-2 Form by January 31. W-2 Form is one of the most common forms used when filing taxes. It summarizes the entire year of earning and all the taxes employees contributed during that time. For those individuals who derive all its income from working for an organization, whether holding one or multiple jobs, W-2 can make the tax filing season fast, and in some cases, it may be free of charge.
Given that we are in the middle of March, there should be no reason for someone not to have received a W-2 Form. But life happens and each year many taxpayers don’t get the form at all. One of the reasons is that the employer does not have an updated address. Every year thousands of Americans move, and even though most of the moves are local, they still trigger the address change. The pandemic that began last year triggered a potential increase in people relocating. Many have been forced due to job loses; others took advantage from work-from-home settings and moved to a more affordable location, or someplace they always wanted to live.
Regardless of all the life-changing events, the taxes are still due on April 15 and if you still haven’t received your W-2, here are some options.
First step would be to contact your employer and request a copy of a W-2. Ideally, you would be able to receive an electronic copy to eliminate any more delays. Another option would be using your last pay stub for the year as a proxy for W-2. The last pay stub will have a year-to-date summary of all your earnings and contributions, so in theory, it could be considered a W-2 substitute. Keep in mind that it is probably a close approximation of the W-2. For that reason, it is best to use it to file Form 4852, which is a substitute for W-2 and few other forms such as W-2c and 1099-R. It requires to list the estimated wages and withholdings in section 7.
If you eventually receive your W-2 and realize that your estimate on Form 4852 was off, you will need to correct your tax return. In order to do that, complete Form 1040X – Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
Lastly, if you tried contacting your employer and still haven’t received a W-2, you can contact the IRS. They will send a letter to your employer requesting the form. Even though this is most likely the least efficient way to get your paperwork to file taxes, it is still comforting to know that option is available.