The Annual “I Didn’t Get My W-2” Question

Today TaxMama hears from Robert in Texas, who complains: “My employer fired me. I worked in the office and taxes were taken out of checks. She has not sent me my W-2 forms. What do I do now?”

Ahhh Robert,

The annual W-2 question. You’re only about the 10th person this week. First, contact your employer and request your W-2. It’s the law. If she doesn’t release it – and you don’t have it by the middle of this month, you can report her to the IRS. There will be a penalty. Unfortunately, not a high enough penalty to suit the folks who didn’t get their W-2s.

IRS provided instructions are here: . But the instructions need some clarification. So here goes.

IRS does tell you that if you never do get it, use a Form 4852 to create a substitute W-2. But IRS doesn’t explain how to generate the numbers for the Form 4852.

You’ll need your last paystub to help you compute how much your withholding was until the last
day you worked. You’ll find a link to this form in the Resource Box at the bottom of TaxQuip #719 https://taxquips.
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If the last paystub doesn’t have your year-to-date amounts on it, find all the paystubs and total up the income; and total up each category of withholding – total federal income tax withheld, state income tax, FICA, Medicare and any other state withholding. Also, don’t forget to add up anything deductible, like union dues, health insurance, etc.

If you don’t have the previous paystubs, estimated the totals by dividing the amounts on your last paystub by the number of working days it covers. Then multiply each result by the total number of days you worked for that company last year.
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Sometimes, you don’t have any paystubs at all. Go see a good local tax professional to help you re-create your compensation and withholding.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about missing W-2s and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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