If your employer doesn’t send you a W-2 by the January 31st deadline, you have several options.
1. Contact Your Employer
Your employer might be behind on paperwork, so ask them for your W-2. They should be able to send it to you quickly. If they can’t find it, they can usually request it from their payroll provider.
2. Contact the IRS
If your employer can’t find your W-2, you can request one from the IRS here.
3. Fill Out Form 4852
If the IRS can’t find your W-2, fill out IRS Form 4852. You can find this form on the IRS website. Use your last paystub of the calendar year to fill it out. Attach this form to your tax return and mail it to the IRS. If you fill out this form and then eventually receive your W-2, you will most likely be required to file an amended return to ensure you’ve filed the correct data.
Can I get my W-2 directly from my payroll provider?
Most likely not. For legal reasons, payroll providers are not allowed to discuss sensitive personal information with people who are unauthorized.
How do I get my W-2 if my employer went out of business?
If your employer is no longer in business, contact them anyway. They may be able to receive tax information from their former payroll provider.
My former employer was acquired by another company. Who has my W-2?
If you get hired by the new company, they are responsible for providing you with your W-2 for the whole year.
If you left your job when the company changed hands, the original company is responsible for sending you your W-2.
If neither company sends you the form, contact the new owner and ask about next steps. Your original employer should have been reporting data to the IRS each quarter, so the IRS might be able to help as well.
Do I get an automatic extension if my W-2 is not delivered on time?
Unfortunately, even if your W-2 was not delivered to you on time, you are still responsible for requesting an extension by the the tax deadline (typically April 15th). Filing an extension gives you more time to complete your return (typically due Oct. 15th). If you are waiting for your W-2 or other forms and the tax deadline is approaching, filing an extension is most likely your wisest option.
The information in this article is up to date through tax year 2021 (taxes filed in 2022).