Missing a W-2 Form? Here's What to Do
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) If you're missing a W-2 form from a former employer, you're not alone. Companies go out of business all the time and fail to send out tax forms before closing their doors, and if you changed jobs and moved there's a chance your former employer sent documents to the wrong address.
In either case, it's time you kicked your efforts to get your W-2 into high gear. Tax day is just a month away, and a missing form can really throw a wrench into an accurate filing and timely refund. We checked in with experts to find out what to do when your W-2 is nowhere in sight.
Start with your own detective work.
If you haven't already started making calls and sending emails to folks who might be able to track down your form, get on it, says Kay Bell, tax expert at Bankrate.com.
"Pull out all the stops," Bell says. "You want that official form. If your company closed and there are only a few executives left at the company, email the CEO, the CFO, anyone who might be able to help. That form is the one the IRS is looking for, and you need to track it down."
If you remember anyone's name in payroll or HR at your old company, try to reach out to them, suggests Craig Richards, tax guru at Fiduciary Trust .
"This happens all the time. People move and their mail stopped being forwarded, or the company doesn't exist anymore," Richards says. "But the people in HR and payroll are often the last people left standing when a company closes, and they'll be the ones who can quickly tell you if your forms went to the wrong address."
If someone at your former company encourages you to file a substitute W-2 (Form 4852) don't be afraid to give them some pushback. The IRS really wants to see your official W-2 it's easier for them to process.
"When you submit your taxes using the substitute form, it takes longer to process," Bell says. "They always have the question, 'Why is this being submitted? Is the taxpayer trying to pull one over on us? Is the employer doing something they shouldn't be?'"
"Try to track down whoever you can to get that form," Bell says.
File a substitute W-2.
When you file Form 4852, the IRS takes over trying to track down your W-2 for you, Bell says. Using the information on the form, they will contact the company and try to have them send you the W-2.
"They're going to contact them and give them a nudge and see if they can't get the ball rolling," she says. This process could take up to two weeks.