Missing Tax Forms

You Don’t Want to Miss Tax Forms

Like most Americans this time of year, you’re probably camped out by the mailbox waiting for your W-2 to come. Ok, maybe that’s a bit extreme – but you’re expecting them.
If you are missing tax forms like W-2s or 1099s, the IRS might ask you to amend your return and file again (and who wants to do that?). Usually, W-2 and 1099 forms should reach the recipients by the end of January. It’s up to you to see where your documents are, if missing.

Your Employer’s Responsibility: Sending You W-2 or 1099

Every employer must send employees a Form W-2. If you’re an independent contractor, you won’t get a W-2, but a Form 1099-MISC (if you made $600 or more on services rendered). But like many business obligations, it can fall through the cracks.

Your W-2 or 1099 is needed to calculate tax liability based on income received. You may also need Form 1099 if you received income from interest or dividends, selling stock, or other sources. Types of 1099s include Form 1099-C Cancellation of Debt and Form 1099-MISC Miscellaneous Income. When you file, ensure you attach all documents to your return.

What to Do if You Didn’t Receive Your W-2

  • Contact your employer to inquire if they sent your W-2, and request them to do so if they haven’t.
  • Contact the IRS at (800) 829-1040 if you do not receive your W-2 by February 14. You can also request an extension if the tax filing deadline is closing in.
  • You can also file Form 4852 Substitute for Form W-2 if you didn’t receive your W-2 from your employer. On this form, you can estimate your total tax liability and include it with your tax return.
  • Got your W-2 after filing Form 4852? Then you’ll need to report any discrepancies on Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

If You Didn’t Get 1099 Forms

  • Contact the 1099 source (e.g. your bank if you did not receive your form 1099-INT for interest income)
  • Independent contractors won’t necessarily get Form 1099 if they didn’t earn $600 or more from a payer. It’s important to keep good records of income and payers.

If you have trouble obtaining your W-2s or 1099s, you can instead order a wage and income transcript from the IRS. This will reflect any W-2 or 1099 income plus other information reported.

Misreporting or underreporting income can trigger an IRS review, potentially leaving you with additional tax, penalties, and interest. If you’re dealing with the effects of missing tax documents, it’s not too late to set things straight. Talk to a tax professional to make sure this tax season won’t surprise you.