How to Use Your Last Check Stub to File Taxes

How to Use Your Last Check Stub to File Taxes
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Your employer is required by law to send you a W-2 form each year by the end of January. Your W-2 has all the information you need to file your tax return. If you do not receive your W-2 by the deadline, the IRS recommends that you contact your employer or the IRS itself. You must file your taxes by the deadline (April 15) even if you have not received your W-2. You may do so using your last check stub.

Download Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement from the IRS website. To locate the form, click on “Forms and Publications” and search for "Form 4852." Once you find Form 4852, print it out.

State your name, address, social security number and employer's name, address and Employer Identification Number (EIN) on the form. If you do not have the EIN, leave that section blank.

Provide your income and tax data. Refer to your last check stub for your yearly wages, and withholding taxes. Estimate your total wages and taxes withheld as correctly as you can, if you do not have your last check stub.

Use the IRS’ Circular E for the tax year you are figuring to determine your federal income tax, and your Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes. Note that your federal income tax is based on the IRS withholding tax tables and your Form W-4 (filing status and number of allowances). Your FICA taxes depend on the amount the government sets.

For example, say you earned $25,000 for 2012. The Medicare tax rate for 2012 was 1.45 percent of all income. Calculation: $25,000 x .0145 = $362.50, your Medicare tax withheld for the year.

Your state income tax, if applicable, depends on your state withholding tax tables and your state tax form.

State the method you used to determine your wages and taxes, such as your last check stub or your own estimations.

Tell the IRS the steps you have taken to obtain your W-2, such as unsuccessfully contacting your employer. Sign the form. Use Form 4852, your last check stub and Form 1040 to file your tax return. Attach Form 4852 to your tax return and mail them to the IRS.


  • Use Form 1040X to file an amended tax return if you eventually receive your W-2 and it differs from the original tax return you filed.