When you're in a hurry to get your income tax refund, waiting on a W-2 form from an employer can be agonizing. If you already know the information you need to prepare your return, you may be tempted to file before the W-2 arrives. While this is technically possible if you file electronically, it's against Internal Revenue Service rules, and may even delay your refund while the IRS verifies your information. If, however, your employer doesn't get you the W-2 by mid-February, you can file by using the substitute Form 4852.
How to Use Form 4852
Employers are required to send out your W-2 by the end of January. If you don't get the form by Feb.14, you should first try contacting the employer and requesting another copy. If this fails, you can estimate your wages and other information on Form 4852 in your tax preparation software or on paper if you're filing by mail. If you attempt to use Form 4852 before Feb. 14, the IRS may reject your return. If you receive the missing W-2 after your file your return, and the information is different from what you reported on form 4852, you must file an amended return with the correct information.
Alan Sembera began writing for local newspapers in Texas and Louisiana. His professional career includes stints as a computer tech, information editor and income tax preparer. Sembera now writes full time about business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Texas A&M University.