So you finally get around to filing that tax return that was due eons ago. You know, the one with the job that you worked at 5 years ago. The one where you think you were paying on your student loan. But wasn’t there also that job where you worked as a “consultant” and they just paid you money and didn’t take taxes out? Oh yeah, and then that one company that closed up shop a week after you bailed! But wait, where are all those documents showing how much you earned?
It’s not uncommon when you are dealing with an “old” tax return for you to have “misplaced” some of those wage documents (e.g. Form W-2 or Form 1099-MISC). If you need to obtain them so that you can file your tax return, here are some recommendations.
Contact The Employer
The best place to start with trying to obtain your W-2 is with your employer. The copy they issue you will be the same as the one they provided to the IRS. Furthermore, it will have the state details (i.e. amount of state tax withheld). This is important when compared to getting your W-2 via the next option.
Request A Copy From The IRS
Every tax form that you receive from someone is typically also filed with the IRS. W-2s are no exception to the rule. Thus, if you can’t get a copy from your employer, the next best option is to request them from the IRS. To do this, you want to request what is known as a Wage and Income Transcript. You can do so online and get instant access or you can request that they be faxed to you by calling 1-800-829-1040 and asking for the above transcript. The main downfall of an IRS transcript is that it will NOT have the state income tax withheld. Thus, if you are trying to file your Federal and State Income Tax Returns, you’ll probably want to go the first route.
Use Your Last Paystub and Form 4852
Sometimes you are trying to file your return for the current year OR the W-2 isn’t available via transcript just yet. In these instances file Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement, in place of the W-2. Use your last paystub to estimate your income and withholding taxes as accurately as possible. Just be aware that the IRS may delay processing your return while it verifies your information.
If you need help in obtaining your W-2s or a transcript, feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email. Also feel free to check out this page to see the many other ways we can assist you.