MISSING W2? NO PROBLEM. HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.

help with lost tax documents

You should have received your W-2 Tax Forms (the ones that show your earnings and tax withholdings) by the end of January. You will need one of these for each job that you worked at during the year (unless you were a contractor in which case you will receive a 1099). These will be necessary to file your taxes. If you haven't received all your W-2's by the end of January I would suggest giving it a little more time to account for mailing time or your employer may have just been late in filing. But if you haven't received these forms by the middle of February it's probably about time to start looking into it. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Contact your Employer - This should always be your first step and will probably be much easier then calling the IRS. Ask your employer's HR department for a copy or if it's a small business you might have to talk directly to the owner. While your at it you should check to make sure they have the correct address. This is the most common reason tax forms are never received.
  2. If, for whatever reason, you can't get a copy from your employer you can call the IRS. Their phone number is 800-829-1040. The IRS will then send a letter to your employer requesting the information. Make sure you have the following info before calling:
    1. Name, Address, Social Security Number, and Phone Number
    2. Employer's Name, Address, and Phone Number
    3. The Dates you worked for the employer
    4. An Estimate of the wages and federal income tax withheld during the year. Note: If you have pay stubs they should show the year-to-date amounts which will be very close to what would show up on your W2.

FILE YOUR TAX RETURN ON TIME

Your tax return is due on April 15th even if you have not received your W2. You can extend your return by filing Form 4868 which will give you until October 15th but remember this is only an extension to file not to pay any tax that you might owe. If you still don't have your W2 but are ready to file you can use a Substitute W2 Form 4852.  Estimate your wages and tax withholdings as best you can. The IRS will take more time to verify 

FILE AN AMENDMENT TO MAKE CORRECTIONS LATER

If you file your tax return with estimates and receive your W-2 later you are required to amend your tax return if the information is different. You can do this by filing form 1040X. This is not as hard as it sounds - you just show the differences from one return to the next and then calculate the tax effect of the changes. 

MISSING HEALTH INSURANCE FORM?

Since we are on the topic of missing tax forms, if you purchased health insurance off the exchanges you should be getting a form 1095-A. This is new this year which is why I'm reminding you. This form is also required to fill out an accurate tax return and could be beneficial if you are eligible for a tax credit.  If you didn't receive this form you should contact your marketplace.  For those of you in the great state of Minnesota you'll want to contact MNSure

Phillip R. Christenson

Office, 3131 Fernbrook Lane N., Suite 224, Plymouth, MN 55447, USA

Phillip Christenson is co-owner and financial advisor at Phillip James Financial, a Fee Only Financial Planning & Investment Management located in Plymouth Minnesota and serving the surrounding suburbs. He has been published and quoted in many national publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Investopedia, etc.