When Should I Receive My W2 Form?

by Clayton Browne ; Updated September 11, 2015
Make sure you have received all your tax documents before completing your tax return.

Around of the first of the year most folks start to think about taxes, at least in the back of their minds. When the W-2 form shows up in the mail or on your desk at work, the thought of a refund soaks in, which is enough to get many people to pull out a calculator and sit down with their tax forms or open up the tax software application on their PC.

W-2 Forms

A W-2 form is an official Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wage and tax statement that employers are required by law to issue for all employees regardless of the amount they earned. Employers are also required by law to submit wage and tax information for all employees to the IRS.

W-2 Timelines

January 31st is the usual deadline for employers to send out W-2s. Contact your employer and request that your W-2 form be sent to you if you have not received your W-2 by early February.

When to Contact the IRS

You should contact the IRS after February 16th if you have not received a W-2 from all of the employers you worked for during the year. The IRS will request your employer's name and address, dates worked, approximate amount of wages and tax paid.

Form 4852

Form 4852 serves as a substitute for a W-2 wage and tax statement. After you have contacted the IRS to inform them you did not receive a W-2, you should use form 4852 as a substitute for your missing W-2. Fill it out as accurately as possible and include it with your return like it was a W-2. Your last pay stub of the tax year that you are filing may contain most of the information you need to complete the Form 4852.

About the Author

Clayton Browne has been writing professionally since 1994. He has written and edited everything from science fiction to semiconductor patents to dissertations in linguistics, having worked for Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Steck-Vaughn and The Psychological Corp. Browne has a Master of Science in linguistic anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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