What To Do If You're Missing Your W2

It’s February 1st and you don’t have your W2? Fear not. Tax Cat will help.

Option 1: Wait a little longer. It might be coming. Call your payroll department and ask them wassup.

Option 2: Call the IRS. Your employer is legally required to send you your W2. Tax Cat sez:

1) Have the employer’s name and address handy.
2) Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040
3) Press 1
4) Press 2
5) Wait for the operator. Tell them that despite your efforts, your employer hasn’t sent you a W-2.

This will result in a nasty letter from the IRS to your employer instructing them to send your damn W2 or else. Click here to see a photo of one of Tax Cat’s happy clients.

3) Do without. If you just can’t get a copy of your W2, you’ll need to fill out Form 4852 (PDF) This is your last resort. Using this form can delay your return while the IRS figures out of you’re full of it or not.

Missing Your Form W-2? [IRS]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Falconfire says:

    Its nice to be done with taxes already ^^

  2. Sidecutter says:

    In all fairness, I believe the law actually states that your employer must postmark (mail) your W2 by January 31st. Not that you must *receive* it by the 31st.

  3. nuch says:

    I was super happy to get the W-2 for my current job on Monday – thinking I could file early. Then I remembered that earlier in the year I was working for Borders, and they said I can expect to receive it between the 9th – 11th of February. Now I’m stuck waiting. That retail job will haunt me to my dying days!

  4. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    I CAN HAZ W-2

  5. valsharess1 says:

    To be fair, many people don’t change their addresses before the end of the year with payroll and the post office won’t forward W2’s. You’ll have to pay to have another W2 issued if this is the case. Remember to change your address people!

  6. blitzcat says:

    I got a letter from my broker that said ‘No W2 until Feb 14, the IRS let us delay, shove off its not our fault’. So I can’t file yet :(

  7. noquarter says:

    @Sidecutter: I think it’s actually Feb. 15th now. And there’s no punishment for the employer if they decide to never send it.

    I once had an employer not send me my W2 until April, so I looked into the laws a bit. Step 2 above is basically worthless. You just have to hope they send you one and you have to fill out the replacement form if they don’t. The burden is on the taxpayer, not the employer.

  8. yesteryear says:

    i filed 10 days ago and already have my tax refund. and i work for a county government with 9k employees. i dont understand how small companies can delay this. i wonder if this whole “must postmark by 1/31” law has any teeth…

  9. yesteryear says:

    ok just read noquarter’s comment… that’s ridiculous. hire an accountant to fill out that replacement form for you and then bill your employer.

  10. Falconfire says:

    If you do not receive the missing or corrected form by February 15th from your employer/payer, you may call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for assistance. You must provide your name, address (including zip code), phone number, Social Security Number, dates of employment, your employer/payer’s name, address (including zip code), and phone number. The IRS will contact the employer/payer for you and request the missing form. IRS will also send you a Form 4852 (PDF), Substitute for Form W-2 or Form 1099-R.

    says nothing about a penalty anymore.

  11. theblackdog says:

    Tax cat looks like he wants to eat my soul.

  12. akalish says:

    Thanks for this. I’m still waiting on mine and was wondering if I had any options.

  13. Kurtz says:

    Tax Cat looks like a furry Drew Carey.

  14. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @valsharess1: I changed mine but it didn’t help. :(

  15. tylerk4 says:

    What about 1099-misc?

  16. theutopian says:

    Couldn’t you just take the information from your last pay stub of the year?

  17. econobiker says:

    @yesteryear: The reason you don’t understand why small companies delay this is BECAUSE you work for a county government with 9k employees. There is probably one person position on your county’s payroll who is only responsiblity is to maintain W-2 information versus small companies with people multitasked.

    Think about that and think about NOT getting a county pension when you retire but being soley responsible for your own retirement savings…then maybe you’ll understand.

  18. ldavis480 says:

    This will result in a nasty letter from the IRS to your employer instructing them to send your damn W2 or else.

    Or else… the IRS will fine them $50. This will strike fear into the heart of any company.. not.

  19. Aesteval says:

    What if you get your W2 but the postal service mutilated it and tried taping it back together?

    Yeah sure…I know, a replacement is on its way. But of all the things for the USPS to destroy…

  20. Empire says:

    @valsharess1: I am currently in possession of 2 W-2s the Post Office forwarded.

  21. Narockstar says:

    I had a part time job for the first part of last year. A few weeks ago, their payroll company went bankrupt in a small scandal. Hilarious? Yes, but they have no idea if they are even going to compile W2s. That part is not so funny.

  22. dsgnomite says:

    Any advice for a missing 1099 Int from a mortgage company that went out of business? I have a nasty IRS bill because the company never sent me a 1099, but reported one to the IRS, then promptly went out of business.

  23. urabl says:

    @blitzcat: I’m still waiting on my 1099-INT from Wachovia. Didn’t get a letter though, had to dig through the Web site to find out after I realized it’s the only tax document I’m still missing. They too got an extension from the IRS. Does anyone know if there are at least fines involved with this? (Even though I’d most likely ending up paying it anyway in the end.)

  24. blitzcat says:

    Doesn’t sound like it, here is part of the letter:

    Dear FOLIOfn® Customer,

    In the past, FOLIOfn has provided 1099 documents prior to January 31st, but we found that a large number of customers needed a corrected 1099 after this date due to corporate activity. This is because a significant number of companies have previously re-characterized payments made during the prior tax year in the first couple of months of the New Year. For example, a portion of previously paid dividends may be reclassified into Return of Capital payments. Also, REITS, Mutual Funds and ETFs often make spillover payments, or payments throughout January that are taxable in the prior tax year.

    Issuing corrected 1099s has resulted in undue customer confusion and wasted time, paper and money in past years. To reduce the number of corrected 1099 forms issued for the 2007 tax year, the Internal Revenue Service has allowed FOLIOfn to deliver 1099s in mid-February. Your 1099 form will be available in your filing cabinet on Saturday, February 16, 2008.


  25. Optimistic Prime says:

    I just called, and the IRS will not assist you until February 15th. What a bunch of crap. I’m waiting for one tax document out of the ten forms I need this year…

  26. ex-IRS says:

    In my 20 years working for the IRS at the IRS Service Center in Austin TX, I sent many IRS letters (they are not really nasty) requesting that an employer issue a Form W-2 to an employee or we would assess a penalty against the employer. I would also send a copy of the letter to the taxpayer.

    1. THERE IS NO FOLLOW-UP DONE BY THE IRS to see if the employer sends the W-2. I would often get a letter or call from the taxpayer saying the employer never responded to my letter and all I could do was send a second letter or call the employer if the taxpayer had provided me a company phone number.

    2. I NEVER saw a single penalty imposed on an employer for not sending the W-2 as requested in the IRS letter.

    3. I do not recall there even being any procedures detailing what to do if the employer failed to send the W-2 or how to asssess the penalty against the employer.

    You are much better off filling out Form 4852 with information from your last paycheck stub. If you later receive the missing W-2, you can file an amended tax return using Form 1040X if the W-2 information is different than the info from your last paycheck stub/Form 4852.

  27. ProjectGSX says:

    I worked for a dot com that went bust back in the day. they didnt provide a W2 for me. I didnt have all of my pay stubs, so when the IRS told me to just “estimate as best I could” on my taxes, I obviously came up short.

    Two years later they send me a letter saying I have to pay back a bunch of money plus penalties and to respond if I disagree. I wrote back saying I disagreed.

    They sent another letter saying this was a second attempt and if I didnt write back, they would move forward with the request for payment. I wrote back again saying I disagreed.

    I received another letter saying that, since they never received a response, they were going to move forward and I owed them an assload of money.

    At that point it was either hire a lawyer or pay up. I paid. I figured I probably DID owe the cash since I was most certainly wrong in the numbers I concocted. But the most annoying part of it is, if the IRS knows what numbers should be on the W2 form, why the hell dont they just provide the information to you instead of having you guess?

    Stupid system. bottom line is, if you are in this situation, keep the return cash somewhere handy because youre going to be returning it eventually.

  28. ex-IRS says:

    ProjectGSX, you got what is called a CP-2000 letter sent by the UnderReporter Group.

    What happens is that the IRS runs a program that compares what you reported on your tax return with what your employer, banks, etc reported to the IRS. The program sends you a letter proposing changes if the amounts differ.

    This matching program is typically done about 18 months after your tax return has been filed.

  29. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    OK, so it’s the 15th. Can I call now or do I have to wait to see if it will be delivered today?