missing or lost w-2With tax season in full swing, millions of Americans are getting ready to prepare and file their taxes. As you are preparing your documents and gathering your paperwork together, do you know what to do if you are missing a W-2?

Employers have until the last day of January to mail you your W-2, but if you have not yet received one from an employer that you worked for last year, here are the steps you need to take:

If You Haven’t Received Your W-2

According to the IRS Website, there are three steps that you should take in order to obtain missing W-2 information that you will need to file your taxes:

1. Get in Touch With Your Employer

If you are missing a W-2 the first step is to get in touch with your employer to find out why you have not yet received the form. Many times a missing W-2 may just be a clerical error. For example, if you have moved and changed your address or did not have a complete address on file, the W-2 they sent to you may have been returned to them. Ask your employer to reissue your W-2 and make sure that they have the correct address to send the document to you. Then, wait an ample amount of time.

2. Get in Touch With The IRS

If mid February has come and gone and you still have not received a W-2 from your employer, your next step would be to contact the IRS.

According to the IRS website, you can call 1-800-829-1040. When you call, you will be asked for the following information:

  • The employer’s address for the missing W-2 including the name or the company, the city, the street, the state and the zip code. 
  • The dates you were employed from.
  • A good faith estimate in the total amount of wages that you earned from the employer as well as the amount of money that was withheld from your pay check for federal income tax. It is best if you can get this information directly off of your pay stubs.

3. File Your Return

Even if you do not get your W-2 forms, you will still need to file your tax return by the tax deadline or you can file for an extension. According to the IRS, as long as you have followed steps one and two listed above, you can file your tax return using Form 4852. You will need to fill this form out as a substitute for your W-2 form, and it is important to fill it out as accurately as possible.

Once complete, you will need to staple the form to your return. If you are due a tax refund, you should be aware that your return will most likely be delayed as the IRS will need to verify your income.

If You Receive Your W-2 After Filing Your Return

Sometimes, you might file your return and then receiver your W-2. If this happens, you will need to file a correction with the IRS. You will need to obtain an IRS form 1040X, fill it out and file it with the IRS.