Hertsel Shadian, Attorney at Law, LLC

What to Do If You Are Missing a W-2

2 February 2012

Before you file your 2011 tax return, make sure you have all the needed documents, including all your Forms W-2. You should receive an IRS Form W-2, “Wage and Tax Statement,” from each of your employers. Employers have until Jan. 31, 2012 to issue your 2011 Form W-2 earnings statement.

If you haven’t received your W-2, the IRS suggests that you follow these four steps:

1. Contact your employer If you have not received your W-2, contact your employer to inquire if and when the W-2 was mailed.  If it was mailed, it may have been returned to the employer because of an incorrect or incomplete address.  After contacting the employer, allow a reasonable amount of time for them to resend or issue the W-2.

2. Contact the IRS  If you do not receive your W-2 by Feb. 14, contact the IRS for assistance at 800-829-1040. When you call, you must provide your name, address, Social Security number, phone number and have the following information:

  • Employer’s name, address and phone number
  • Dates of employment
  • An estimate of the wages you earned, the federal income tax withheld, and when you worked for that employer during 2011. The estimate should be based on year-to-date information from your final pay stub or leave-and-earnings statement, if possible.

3. File your return You still must file your tax return or request an extension to file by April 17, 2012, even if you do not receive your Form W-2. If you have not received your Form W-2 in time to file your return by the due date, and have completed steps 1 and 2, you may use IRS Form 4852, “Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement” (see link below). Attach Form 4852 to the return, with an estimate of income and withholding taxes which is as accurate as possible.  There may be a delay in any refund due while the information is verified.

4. File a Form 1040X  On occasion, you may receive your missing W-2 after you file your return using Form 4852, and the information may be different from what you reported on your return. If this happens, you must amend your return by filing an IRS Form 1040X, “Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return” (see link below). Form 4852, Form 1040X and instructions also are available on the IRS’s official website at www.IRS.gov, or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Links to brief IRS prepared YouTube videos (in English, Spanish and ASL) about this topic are included below. For more information, contact your professional tax advisor or tax preparer, or call Hertsel Shadian, Attorney at Law, LLC at (503) 352-6985. Please also share this article with others that might benefit from this information.


YouTube Videos:

W-2 Missing? English | Spanish | ASL