What to Do If a Client Is Missing a W-2

Employers had until Feb. 2 to issue Forms W-2 to their employees, showing wages and earnings for 2008. If a client hasn’t received a W-2 by now, here are the steps the IRS says to take:


1. Contact the employer. The client should contact his or her employer to find out if and when the employer mailed the W-2.  If it was mailed, it may have been returned to the employer because of an incorrect or incomplete address. Allow a reasonable amount of time for the employer to resend or to issue the W-2.


2. Contact the IRS. If the client still has not received a W-2 by Feb. 17, contact the IRS for assistance at 800-829-1040. The client should have the following information:


  • The employer’s name, address, city, and state, including ZIP code;
  • The client’s name, address, city and state, including ZIP code, and Social Security number; and
  • An estimate of the wages earned, the federal income tax withheld, and the period the client worked for that employer. The client should base the estimate on the year-to-date information from the final pay stub or leave-and-earnings statement, if possible.


3. File a return. The client must still file a tax return on time even if he or she has not received the W-2. A taxpayer who has not received a Form W-2 by Feb. 17, and who has completed steps 1 and 2 above, may use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. Attach Form 4852 to the return, estimating income and withholding taxes as accurately as possible. Warn the client that there may be a delay in any refund due while the IRS verifies the information.


4. File a Form 1040X (if necessary). On occasion, the client may later receive the missing documents and find they do not match what the client reported on the return. If the client receives a Form W-2 or W-2C (corrected form) after filing a return using Form 4852, and the information differs from what was reported on the return, the client must file an amended return (Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return).



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