Tax Tip: What To Do If You Haven't Received a W-2 Form

Employers must provide employees with a Form W-2 by January 31, 2001 for use in preparing tax returns, according to the IRS. You should receive a separate W-2 for each employer you worked for. Since employers can mail the W-2s as late as January 31, you should allow a few days into February for a mailed form to arrive.

If do not receive your Form W-2, you should first contact your employer and find out if or when the W-2 was mailed. You may not have received your W-2 because of an incorrect or incomplete address, so be sure to verify your address.

If the W-2 was returned to the employer because of an address problem or was not yet issued, allow a reasonable amount of time for the employer to re-mail or issue the W-2. If you still do not receive your W-2, contact the IRS for assistance at 1-800-829-1040, but not before February 15th. When you call the IRS will need the following information:

  • The employer's name and complete address, including zip code, the employer's identification number (if known), and telephone number,
  • Your name, 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 leave your employer before the end of the year and request your Form W-2, your employer must provide your Form W-2 within 30 days of your request.

    If you do not receive your Form W-2, you still must file your tax return on time. Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax, may be substituted for a missing Form W-2, but this form should only be used if you cannot get a W-2 by your tax filing deadline. If you file your return and attach Form 4852 instead of a W-2, your refund may be delayed while the information you gave us is verified.

    If you receive a corrected W-2 after your return is filed and it does not match the income or withheld tax you reported on your return, you must file an amended return.

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