What if I haven’t received my W2?

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What if I haven't received my w2

Your W-2 Form is a vital document for tax purposes. It’s no wonder people panic if they haven’t received a W-2 in the mail. What happens if you don’t have this critical document heading into tax season? If you’re asking yourself what if I haven’t received my w2? We’ll cover alternatives and different ways to obtain a copy of your form.  

Who receives a W-2?

Not everyone receives a W-2 tax form. Employers distribute these forms to their employees at the start of the year. Independent contractors will receive a 1099 tax form in the mail instead. Our steps and alternatives for obtaining your W-2 will also apply to 1099 workers.

When is the deadline for form W-2? 

January 31st is the deadline for employers to provide their employees with W-2 Form. If the date falls on a weekend, the deadline extends to the next business day. For instance, the deadline becomes February 1st if January 31st is a Sunday. Employers can obtain a 30-day extension by submitting a Form 8809 application.

What to do if you did not receive a W-2

Stressed about not receiving your W-2? Don’t fret as you have several options to obtain your document. We’ll also provide backup plans in case the document stays missing.

Check the date

Knowing the important dates and deadlines in advance can leave you more prepared. You don’t want to rush into action too early, as the W-2 may still be on its way. However, you should take action before the deadline gets too close. Looking for your W-2 in late March is far more stressful than looking for it in the middle of February.

Go through your email

Many employers provide electronic W-2s instead of mailing a W-2 Form to each of their employees. Some employers provide physical and electronic versions of the document. You might lose the physical version, but the digital version is always in your inbox. You can dig through past emails to find your W-2 Form.

Call your employer

Your employer can inform you about the current status of your W-2 and provide you with a new document. Give them a call in mid-February if you still haven’t received your form. HR and payroll departments will have the most insights.

Contact the IRS

The IRS can assist with getting a copy of your W-2 Form. You can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 if you don’t receive your form by the end of February. The IRS will inform your employer about the missing W-2 and provide you with a substitute W-2.

Taxpayers need the following information available before making a call to the IRS:

  • Name
  • Location
  • Social Security number
  • Phone number
  • Employer’s name
  • Employer’s location
  • Employer’s phone number
  • Employment dates
  • Estimated wages 
  • Withheld earnings 

Request a filing extension

A filing extension gives you more time to wait for your official W-2 Form to arrive. You can use
Form 4868 to request an extension.

Form 4852 and Form 1040-X

The IRS provides Form 4852 to people who can’t obtain their W-2 documents. Form 4852 acts as a replacement for your W-2. You can estimate your wages and withheld earnings for this form. If your employer provides the W-2 after you file a Form 4852, you’ll have to refile and fill out Form 1040-X. Taxpayers use this form to amend tax returns.

File without your W-2

You don’t need a W-2 to file your taxes, but filing without this document slows down the process. Filing without your W-2 is better than not filing at all, so consider this as a last resort. Waiting for your company to provide a W-2 can trigger late fees if you can’t get an extension.

Hope for the best while preparing for the worst

Most employers will provide you with a W-2 Form on time, but it’s helpful to have a back-up plan in case they don’t so that you don’t end up in a tricky situation. By making sure you address any issues in mid-February, you’ll reduce your stress levels since you’ll have more time to obtain your form. A little bit of preparation will go a long way when it comes to facilitating a smooth tax season.


What do I do if I don’t have my W-2 on my taxes?

You can reach out to your employer by mid-February if you haven’t received your W-2. Taxpayers can contact the IRS if this problem persists past February.

Can I find my W-2 online?

Many employers send an electronic copy of your W-2 to your inbox. Look through your inbox for the document before reaching out to your employer.

How to get W-2 from previous employers?

Contact your previous employer and ask them to provide a form for you. The HR and payroll divisions will usually offer the most support in this area.

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