Are You Missing Form W-2?

February 14, 2012

by Michael W. Blitstein, CPA 

There are times where I am asked, “I have not received my W-2 from my employer. What should I do?” Often this happens when an employer is no longer in business.  Companies sell, merge, consolidate or even close their doors – all circumstances that can lead to employees not receiving their W-2 or receiving it past the compliance deadline. You should receive a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, from each of your employers for use in preparing your Federal tax return. Employers must furnish this record of earnings and withheld taxes no later than January 31st of the subsequent year.

If you do not receive your Form W-2, contact your employer to find out if and when the W-2 was mailed. If it was mailed, it may have been returned to your employer because of an incorrect address. After contacting your employer, allow a reasonable amount of time for your employer to resend or to issue the W-2.

In addition to providing you with the W-2, employers are required to file copies with IRS.  If you still do not receive your W-2 after a reasonable time, contact the IRS for assistance.  When you call, have the following information available:

  • The employer’s name and complete address, including zip code, and the employer’s telephone number.
  • The employer’s identification number (if known).
  • Your name and address, including zip code, social security number, and telephone number.
  • An estimate of the wages you earned, the federal income tax withheld, and the dates you began and ended employment.

If you misplaced your W-2, contact your employer. Your employer can replace the lost form with a “reissued statement.” Be aware that your employer is allowed to charge you a fee for providing you with a new W-2.

You still must file your tax return on time even if you do not receive your Form W-2. If you cannot get a W-2 by the tax filing deadline, you may use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, but it will delay any refund due while the information is verified.

If you receive a corrected W-2 after your return is filed and the information it contains does not match the income or tax withheld that you reported on your return, you must file an amended return on Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

CJBS, LLC is a Chicago based firm that assists its clients with a wide range of accounting and financial issues, protecting and expanding the value of mid-size companies. E-mail me at if you have any questions about this posting or if I may be of assistance in any way.