W-2 Missing? Take Steps Before Filing Tax Return

How to find your missing W-2

This article was last edited on February 15, 2016. For updated information on filing without a W-2, read more here.

Sometimes, taxpayers are missing a Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement. You’ve likely received the forms you need but you can’t do your tax return without a W-2. Most people receive it by the end of January. If you have not received a W-2 by mid-February, the IRS has a few steps you should follow:

  1. Contact your employer. This is the first thing you should do. Ask your employer or former employer for a copy. Be sure they have your correct mailing address especially if you have moved.
  2. Call the IRS. If you are unable to get a copy from your employer, you may call the IRS after Feb. 23. The number is (800) 829-1040. The IRS will send a letter to your employer on your behalf. Before making the call, make sure you have the following information:
    • Your name, address, Social Security number, and phone number
    • Your employer’s name, address and phone number
    • The dates you worked for the employer
    • An estimate of your wages and federal income tax withheld in 2015. You can use your final pay stub for these amounts.
  3. File on time. Even if your W-2 is missing, you should still file on or before the filing deadline of April 18. Use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, to estimate your wages and taxes withheld as best as you can. If you can’t complete it by the deadline, request a six month extension to file using Form 4868.
  4. Correct your return if necessary. If you get your missing W-2 after you file and the information on your W-2 is different from what you originally reported, you may need to file an amended tax return. Use Form 1040X.

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