W-2 Deadline Passed and still no W-2? [What should you do?]

Employers must give their employees a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, if the employee worked anytime during the prior year. The W-2 is the form that shows the amount of income you received in the prior year and how much of your income was withheld from your wages to pay your federal, state, and local income taxes. Also, it includes the amount you paid in Social Security and Medicare tax. You will need this form to file your tax return. This same information is reported to the IRS. Most employers will hand out or mail your W-2 form by January 31st at the latest. If the 31st of January falls on a weekend, your employer will have a few more days to send it out before the W-2 deadline. This means you may not receive it until the first or second week of February.

You will need your W-2s from all your employers you worked for during the year. Make sure your former and current employers have your current address. If you file your tax return without all your W-2s, it could delay the processing of your refund. Also, the IRS may correct your tax return for you, which means you may not receive the credits and deductions you deserve. So, what should you do if the W-2 deadline has passed and you didn’t receive it?

Who You Should Contact and When

If January 31st came and went and you still do not have your W-2, usually the fastest and easiest way to get it is to contact your employer. Your employer may ask you to wait until February 15th to allow for any mailing delays before sending another copy. If your W-2 was lost in the mail or sent to the wrong address, your employer can issue you another one. Many employers have digitized the W-2 process, so it may be as simple as logging into your payroll account and printing another copy. If your company is large enough, ask to speak to your company’s payroll or human resources department.

Sometimes, situations arise that make it impossible to get your W-2 from your former employer. Maybe they went out of business or you left on bad terms. If you cannot contact a previous employer or have contacted them and still have not received your W-2 by mid-February, contact the IRS to get a copy. Call the IRS at (800) 829-1040. You will need the following information:

  • Name, address, Social Security number, and phone number;
  • Employer’s name, address, and phone number;
  • Dates you were employed with the employer; and
  • Estimate of the income earned and taxes withheld.

If you kept your last paystub from your employer, you will be able to get the majority of this information from it.

You Still Need to File Your Taxes

If you have not been able to obtain a copy after the W-2 deadline has passed, it is important you still file your taxes on time. Most years this means filing your taxes by April 15th unless the tax deadline is extended or falls on a Sunday or holiday. If you have not been able to obtain a copy of your W-2, you can use Form 4852, which is a substitute for the Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. You will need to estimate the income you earned from that employer, and the amount of taxes they withheld from your pay. The IRS will verify the information you submit, and you can expect a delay in processing your tax return. This is one of the reasons, if possible, it is better to get a copy from your employer.

If you do think you will receive a copy of your W-2 soon or need more time, you can file an extension to allow you an additional six (6) months to file your tax return. If you receive your W-2 after you file, you may need to amend your return, if the amounts shown on your actual W-2 differ from what you reported on your tax return. If possible, get a copy of your W-2 and avoid the hassle of having to amend your tax return.

The Bottom Line

You will need your W-2s from all the employers you worked for in the prior year to file your tax return correctly. If you cannot get a copy by the W-2 deadline, you do have options including filing a substitute W-2, Form 4852, or filing an extension to allow yourself additional time to file. If you are missing a W-2, schedule an appointment today with the accounting and tax preparation professionals at Gudorf Tax Group. They will walk you through the best way to file your tax return to avoid having your tax refund delayed.