Have you received your W-2? These documents are essential to filling out most individual tax returns. You should receive a 2011 Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, from each of your employers each year. Employers have until January 31, 2012 to provide or send you a 2011 W-2 earnings statement either electronically or in paper form. However, you should wait a week or so before becoming concerned. If by then you have not received your W-2, follow these steps:
1. Contact My Online Bookkeeper: Let us know you are missing a W-2. If your appointment is in the near future, we will advise you whether to keep the appointment or change it to another time. Most payroll services provide year-to-date totals of income and withholding with each paycheck, so your final paycheck for the year will probably include all the data needed to prepare your return, and you can still keep your tax appointment. Even if you do not have the year-to-date totals for a missing W-2 or 1099, it is best to keep the appointment. Everything else for the return, except for the missing document, can be completed, and you can
mail or drop the missing items by the office at a later date. That way, your return can be finished as soon as the W-2 or 1099 is available. This will speed up your refund if you are receiving one.
2. Contact your employer: If you have not received your W-2, the first step is to contact your employer to inquire if and when the W-2 was mailed. If it was mailed, it may have been returned to the employer because of an incorrect or incomplete address. After contacting the employer, allow a reasonable amount of time for them to resend or to issue the W-2.
3. Contact the IRS: If you still do not receive your W-2 by February 15, you can contact the IRS for assistance at 800-829-1040. However, we recommend that you hold off from contacting the IRS until you are certain that you will not be receiving a W-2 from the employer, even at a date substantially later than February 15. If, and when, you do call the IRS, have the following information at hand:
Employer’s name, address, city, and state, including zip code;
Your name, address, city, and state, including zip code, and your Social Security number; and
An estimate of the wages you earned, the federal income tax withheld, and the period you worked for that employer. The estimate should be based on year-to-date information from your final pay stub or leave-and-earnings statement, if possible. This office can assist you in making the estimate.
4. File your return: Even if you don’t receive a W-2, you still must file your tax return or request an extension to file by April 17.
If you anticipate that you will ultimately receive the missing W-2, this office can estimate your 2011 tax liability and file extensions for you. If you have a substantial refund coming, you may opt to have this office prepare a substitute W-2, and you can file without the W-2. Refunds for returns including substitute W-2s can be delayed significantly while the IRS verifies the W-2 information.
If you don’t anticipate receiving the missing W-2, then a substitute W-2 can be prepared, allowing you to file your 2011 tax return.
If a substitute W-2 is used and it is later determined that the information used to prepare the substitute W-2 was in error, an amended return may have to be prepared for you to file.
Please My Online Bookkeeper if you have any questions at (415) 480-5204 or firstname.lastname@example.org