How to File Your Taxes Without a W-2

File taxes no W-2

The information in this article is up to date through tax year 2019 (taxes filed in 2020).

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, contact the IRS. Call 800.829.1040 and give the IRS your name and any other personal information they ask for. Then give them your employer’s name and address. They will be able to find your W-2 if your company sent it to them. Sometimes companies send their tax information to the IRS even if they don’t send it to their employees. 

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 the 1040 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 show 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. If you contact your payroll provider directly, they will not be able to give you your form in most cases. 

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 took longer to get to you, you must still file or request an extension by the deadline in April, usually the 15th. Filing an extension gives you an additional six months to complete your return. If you are waiting for your W-2 or other forms and the tax deadline is approaching, filing an extension may be a good idea.

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