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For almost anyone filing their taxes, one of the most important documents that you need to have is your W-2. It lists your total amount of wages, as well as all the taxes you have paid so it has the necessary information that the IRS is looking for. But what happens when you don’t have a W-2? Keep reading to see what options you have!

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1) Contact Your Employer

This might seem rather obvious but it’s a crucial first step. When you reach out to your employer, the first thing you need to confirm that they did in fact send out your W-2. There are times when these things can be overlooked and it is very possible that sending out your W-2 was an oversight.

Secondly, you want to ensure that if they did send it out, it went to the correct address. If you have changed residence within the year it might be that they don’t have your current address. Or there could be an issue with the spelling of a street name or an incorrect house or apartment number. Whatever the case just cross check the information they have on file for you.

Also note that it doesn’t matter how long you worked at this particular place, but if you worked there you are entitled to a W-2. And if for some reason you are having issues getting it from your employer, than contact the IRS and explain the situation. They will be able to send a letter on your behalf to your employer, telling them that they need to supply you with your W-2. 

2) W-2 Substitution (Form 4852)

If it’s been a little while and you still haven’t been able to get a hold of your W-2, there is another option that will allow you to file your taxes. Form 4852 is a substitute to a W-2, and it allows you to take your last paycheck stub from your employer and use it to estimate both your wages and withholding from that employer. This lets you go ahead and file your tax return without actually needing your W-2.

When you finally receive your W-2, you want to make sure that the numbers you put down for wages and taxes withheld match the numbers that appear on the W-2. If there is a big discrepancy it can result in the IRS asking for part of your refund back if you received one, or saying you owe more than you originally had to pay. There is also a possibility that you could be owed more money back, but whatever the case you need to make sure the numbers you claimed when filing match the numbers on your official W-2. This means you should be honest and as accurate as possible when filling out the Form 4852.

Just to recap, first reach out to your employer to ensure that they have sent out your W-2, and to the right address. If you still haven’t been able to get your W-2 then reach out to the IRS and they can talk to your employer for you. Lastly, use form 4852 if you still don’t have access to your W-2 but ensure you’re using accurate information as it can come back to hurt you in the end if it isn’t.

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