Opps, Missed a W-2 !

Today TaxMama® hears from John in the TaxQuips Forum with a little problem. “Reviewing my Federal taxes after my tax preparer did them, I discovered she only had 1 W-2 form listed on my return but she sent copies of both with the taxes. Just wondering what is going to happen when the IRS gets the tax return?”

Ask TaxMama

Hi John,

Whether your preparer sent one or both W-2s with your return, sooner or later, IRS will send you a letter telling you that you under-reported your wages. They will compute the correct tax, and deduct the withholding from the 2nd W-2.

You see, before the overall processing season is over, IRS’s computers cross-reference your tax return against all the W-2s and 1099s filed with your Social Security number or employer ID number (if using a Schedule C). If your preparer produced a tax return to file on paper, rather than e-file, the IRS staff person who keys in the data will see that W-2 and will probably enter it. (I would hope.)

One could say that this is an innocent error.

The truth is, it says to me that not only does this tax preparer work alone, without having anyone review her work; but she doesn’t have any procedures in place to review her own work. When working alone, a tax professional must still exercise proper due diligence.

She should be setting her tax returns aside and doing a complete review (with a standard checklist) a day or two later, so she can see the return with fresh eyes. The checklist would have included making sure all W-2s are entered. (If your tax pro needs such a checklist, have her join us here and request it in the Forum. I will send it to her, gratis.)

Did your preparer at least re-compute your tax liability or refund so you know what to expect once both W-2s are taken into account?

On the other hand, YOU should not be signing your tax return without looking it over carefully. That’s why we give our clients PDF copies to review before they sign the efiling documents.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about tax return errors, and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At www.TaxMama.com.

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