Have a Missing W-2? Here’s What to Do…

January 11, 2017 : Mike Slack

Employers aren’t required to provide their workers with a copy of their 2016 Form W-2 until January 31, 2017. So, can an someone with a missing W-2 file a tax return before this date using the information shown on their last paycheck stub of 2016?

The answer is… no. You can’t file your tax return with just a pay stub. Unfortunately, you must wait until your employer issues you a Form W-2 to file your tax return.

You Have Options

Here are a few options if you have a missing W-2:

  • Many employers will provide electronic W-2s that can be accessed in early January. Contact the payroll or human resources department at your company for more information.
  • You could also take advantage of H&R Block’s Early Access. With W-2 Early Access, you can send us an electronic copy of your W-2 for free and get your refund as soon as possible.

Still Missing a W-2?

What if you haven’t received your Form W-2 after January 31? Take the following actions:

  1. Contact your employer to attempt to obtain your W-2.
  2. If you still haven’t received it by February 14, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to provide as much information regarding your situation as possible.
  3. Use your last paycheck stub to give them as much detail as possible. The IRS will send you Form 4852 (an IRS substitute to Form W-2) which you may then use to file your tax return prior to the April 18, 2017 due date.

You may be required to file an amended return if you file your return using the Form 4852 and you do eventually receive a Form W-2 with conflicting information reported on it.

View more tax tips here.

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Mike Slack

Mike Slack

The Tax Institute, H&R Block

Mike Slack, JD, EA, is a senior tax research analyst at The Tax Institute. Mike leads research teams focused on business and investment tax issues.