Tax season is a burden enough that having missing documentation makes it all the more frustrating. There are certain documents you need each year for taxes regardless of how you file. For anyone that is not self-employed or an independent contractor, this includes a W2 form.
A W2 is issued by your employer to notify you, as well as the United States government, the amount of money you earned during the previous year. It also explains how much Social Security and Medicare taxes were withheld.
There are many workers that have more than one W2 in any given tax year, and some self-employed individuals may have received direct income through their enterprise yet also worked a standard job on the side.
Regardless of the situation, you need your W2 in order to file your taxes and determine how much of a refund or amount you owe back to the government. If you have yet to receive your W2 and are ready to file a tax return, here are the steps you can take to make sure you get it as soon as possible.
Check the Calendar
While some taxpayers may get anxious immediately after the New Year and want to file taxes as soon as possible in order to get a quick refund – you need to be patient. Employers can send you a W2 as soon as the new year begins, however, they are not required by law to do so until January 31st.
Unfortunately, that means you have to probably wait until at least the end of January to file which also means you will not get a refund until mid-February at the earliest. So if you have yet to get your W2, or are missing one if you worked multiple jobs in the last year, be patient. Employers don’t have to send it until the end of January, meaning it may not arrive until a few days into February.
Monitor Your Email
The old traditional method of sending a W2 through the post office is still the preferred method for most employers, yet many of them have also adopted an electronic method too.
When you were hired you should have been notified if important documents, like a W2, will get sent you to electronically. If you are unsure, you can check with a member of human resources, or a supervisor, for more information.
Email is still frowned upon as the primary method for sending out a W2 because of the security risks. However, the employer may still send you a notice via email indicating to you that the W2 is now available in a secured electronic portal, or available for download. Consequently, check your spam if you are still missing a W2 and expecting it any day now.
Double Check Your Personal Information with HR
People change jobs so you may no longer be with a company that you received income from last year. It happens and is no big deal. The problem is you may have changed residences since you were employed there, and the company may therefore have outdated contact information.
In order to risk not getting your W2 and having it sent to an old address where private information may get exposed to a stranger, make sure you contact any company you no longer work for early in January to make sure they got the right mailing address for your W2.
Often the main reason why people do not get their W2 in time is because the form was sent to the wrong address. So all you need to do is either verify the address beforehand or ask for a reissue if the W2 was already sent out to the wrong place.
Contact the IRS
In almost every circumstance dealing with the employer should resolve any issues. However, there are rare cases where this does not happen. Perhaps you are deep into February and the W2 is missing. You’ve contacted the employer but are not getting a straight answer, or maybe they even went out of business.
You may contact the IRS though that approach requires a lot of personal information you need to submit to them over the phone. The IRS can then contact the workplace on your behalf, however, given how backed up the agency is with workflow – do not expect a quick resolution.
Contact a Tax Professional
A far better idea is to contact a tax professional. Unlike the IRS they do not treat you like another number and can help you deal with a missing W2. They can also reach out on your behalf to the employer, or provide other suggestions like filing without a W2 or asking for an extension.Need help with your taxes? Contact 800-TAX-LEVY or visit us at www.levytaxhelp.com.