Getting a Copy of Your W2: What to Do If You’ve Lost It

Apr 25, 2023

The W2 form is a crucial piece of paperwork necessary for accurately filing taxes. It contains important information about an individual’s yearly wages and taxes withheld by their employer. Unfortunately, losing this document can cause a lot of problems during tax season. 

Without it, individuals may not be able to file their taxes correctly, leading to potential penalties and fees. In this article, we will discuss what to do if you’ve lost your W2 form and provide some helpful tips for obtaining a copy. 

Whether you’ve accidentally tossed it in the trash or have yet to receive one from your employer, we’ll guide you through the process of getting a replacement.

Understanding Your W2 Form

The W2 form is a crucial document that employers provide their employees for tax reporting purposes. This form reports the total amount of money paid to an employee throughout the year, including wages, tips, and other forms of compensation. 

On the W2 form, you’ll find the employer’s information, such as their name, address, and employer identification number, as well as the employee’s information, such as their name, address, and social security number. Additionally, the form will also include details of the taxes withheld from the employee’s income, such as federal and state income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes. 

The deadline for employers to provide their employees with W2 forms is January 31st, following the end of the tax year. The employers are also required to submit copies of the W2 forms to the Social Security Administration and the IRS by February 28th. 

It’s important to note that failure by employers to provide accurate and timely W2 forms can result in penalties and fines. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that all the details are accurate and provided in a timely manner to your tax preparer.

1. Contact Your Employer

It is crucial to first contact the employer who issued the W2 when seeking a reissued form. This is because they are the ones who have access to the necessary information, such as the employee’s earnings and tax withholdings. 

When reaching out to the employer, it is advisable to start with the HR department or payroll department. Contact details for these departments are typically available on the company’s website or through previous correspondence. 

If the original form still needs to be received, one possible reason could be an incorrect mailing address on file. Another reason could be a change in employment status, such as leaving the job before the end of the tax year. 

In such cases, the employer may not have had the opportunity to mail the W2 to the correct address. If the employer is unresponsive or uncooperative, it may be necessary to escalate the matter to a superior or seek advice from a tax professional. 

2. Request a Copy from the IRS

There are a few reasons why someone may need to contact the IRS to request a copy of their W2. One common situation is if the individual has lost their W2 or has yet to receive it from their employer. 

Another reason may be due to discrepancies noticed on their tax return, which can be resolved by obtaining a copy of their W2 for accuracy purposes. To request a copy of the W2, one can do so by filling out Form 4506 or Form 4506-T, which are available on the IRS website. 

Form 4506 costs $50 per copy and can take up to 75 calendar days to process, while Form 4506-T can be submitted online for free and takes approximately 10 business days to process. It is important to have relevant information such as the individual’s name, social security number, and mailing address ready when filling out the form. 

Once the request has been processed, the individual should expect to receive a copy of their W2 in the mail.

Request a Copy from the IRS


3. Use a Substitute Form

When it comes to filing your taxes, having all the necessary forms and documentation is crucial. However, there may be instances where a W2 form is not available from your employer or the IRS, which can pose a problem when filing your taxes. 

This is where the concept of a substitute form comes into play, specifically, Form 4852. Form 4852 is designed to serve as a substitute for a W2 form, and it is used when the original form cannot be obtained for any reason. 

Some situations where Form 4852 may be necessary include if an employer goes out of business, fails to provide a W2, or the IRS needs to correct information on file. To complete Form 4852, you must provide your personal information, including your name, social security number, and address. You must also estimate your earnings and taxes paid, based on your own records, if the original form is not available. 

Additionally, you may need to supply documentation to support the amounts you report on Form 4852, such as pay stubs or bank statements. It is important to note that using a substitute form like Form 4852 may result in potential drawbacks or complications. 

For example, there may be delays in processing your tax return as the IRS will need to verify the information provided on the substitute form. 

Preventing Lost W2 Forms in the Future

Losing a W2 form can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience, particularly during tax season. To avoid such incidents in the future, there are several measures that individuals can take. 

One option is to request electronic copies of their W2 forms from their employers. This would ensure that they have a digital copy that they can access at any time, from anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection. 

Alternatively, it’s important to keep track of physical copies of W2 forms in a safe and secure location. This could be a dedicated filing system that is specifically set up for important tax documents like the W2 form. 

By having a designated storage space for such documents, individuals can easily retrieve the information they need when they need it without worrying about misplaced documents. Another important step to take is to promptly communicate address changes to their employers and the IRS. This would ensure that important tax documents, like the W2 form, are sent to the right address, reducing the likelihood of lost forms. 

In summary, taking proactive steps like these can go a long way in preventing the loss or misplacement of W2 forms, making tax season a stress-free experience.

Partner with UltimateTax Service for a Stress-Free Tax Filing Experience

In conclusion, filing taxes can be a stressful and time-consuming process. However, with UltimateTax Service as your partner, you can experience a hassle-free tax filing journey. Our team of experts is dedicated to helping you navigate complex tax laws and regulations, ensuring that you get the most out of your tax returns. 

Partner with UltimateTax Service

If you need help with issues related to your W2 forms or any other tax-related problem, UltimateTax is here to help. To learn more about our services and how we can help you, visit our website or contact us today.

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