Millions of people each year get behind on their taxes and end up owing the IRS extra money to pay penalties. One reason you might get behind on your taxes, is due to waiting for your W2 form from employers. Although employers are supposed to send the form out in a timely manner, sometimes they get delayed.
This, in turn, can delay you from doing your taxes. However, if you know how to file taxes without a W-2, it won't hold you up at all. Didn't know that you could file taxes without a W2 form? You're not the only one, but it is possible and we're here to show you how. Keep reading to learn all you need to know!
What Is A W-2 Form?
The W2 form is where the IRS tells employers to report your salary and wages. This form also states how much in state, federal, or other taxes were withheld from your paychecks. Employers are required to send out their W2 forms by January 31st, so you'll have plenty of time to do your taxes. However, freelance employees and independent contractors don't get W2 forms, need different forms to file their taxes. Typically, they'll get a form 1099 instead.
Can I Access My W-2 Online?
You can access your W2 online sometimes, but usually only if your employer has made it available to you. It's a good idea to thoroughly check your employer's website if you haven't heard from them. If there's an employee login portal (so the information is private), you might find your W2 somewhere inside. However, not all employers will offer this information online.
Even if you can't access your W2 online, you can still e-file your taxes, which is often easier than filling out the paperwork by hand. If you haven't found your W2 on your employer's website,
1. Tax Form Management
This service exists to automate W2 printing, distribution, reissuing, and more. If your employer is in the Tax Form Management system, you might be able to get your W2 there. However, you will need to jump through a few hoops to get authorized for access. Start by seeing if your employer's name or numerical code is listed.
Then, find the employer ID number once you've located your employer in the system. You'll use this number and a few other personal details, like numbers from your most recent paycheck, to log in. If your employer is listed and you can log in, you'll be able to see your W2 form and print it out.
How To File Taxes Without W-2
What happens when something goes wrong? Your employer doesn't send you the form when they're supposed to, and you can't find your W2 online -- what now? Let's take a look at the options you may have.
1. Get In Touch With Your Employer
Your first step should be to contact your employer to try to get a W2 form. Sometimes, you might not be able to get in touch with your employer. They might have closed down, or simply ignore your requests. If that's the case, move on to the next step. If the company used a separate payroll provider, you can also contact them to try to get your form.
Try to be patient if it's still early in the year. If the January 31st deadline has just recently passed, you might want to wait before moving forward and see if the form shows up in your mailbox.
2. Contact The IRS
Next, you should contact the IRS. Sometimes, they can offer support to help you get your form W-2. Your employer might have sent tax information directly to the IRS, but not to you.
3. Request an Extension
If the tax deadline is creeping up and you still don't have a W2 in your hands, this is a good time to request an extension. That way, you'll have more time to tackle the task of doing your taxes without this helpful form. Filing an extension is always much better than filing taxes late. If you file late without an extension, you could end up paying penalties, so take care to avoid this chance.
4. File With Form 4852
If you still can't get your W2 and it's time to do your taxes, you'll need to get your last pay stub and IRS form 4852. You can find and download this form on the IRS website. It works as a stand-in for the W2 or 1099 form that you didn't get. You'll have to estimate your total wages, as well as withheld taxes, for the year.
That's where your last pay stub comes in. It often has a "year-to-date" number to show how much you've made over the year. The results from this method aren't always perfectly accurate, and you might be required to make an amendment later. Still, it's better than not doing your taxes at all and paying the penalties.
Don't Delay On Filing Your Taxes
Once you know how to file taxes without W2, you can take action. Don't let the missing paperwork hold you up -- you might end up paying penalties to the IRS. And even if you get your taxes in, at the last minute, the added stress of waiting around for a W2 form just isn't worth it. If your company is struggling to send out W2 forms, they might need a little help.
Small businesses in particular often struggle around tax time. Make sure to tell your payroll or HR department about our easy W2 form generator! It makes life easier for employees and employers alike.
See for yourself, and create your W2 form today!