How To Get A W-2 From A Previous Employer
3, Jan, 2019
How To Get A W-2 From A Previous Employer
Author - Phil Baker

Believe it or not, tax season is almost here. Even if the thought of taxes may make your head spin, they are a fundamental part of living in today's society. Did you recently switch jobs? Want to know how to get a W2 from a previous employer? We've got you covered! Let's get into what you need to know.

Why Do You Need Your W-2?

Your W-2 form is known as your "Wage and Tax Statement." It outlines the compensation you received from your employer over a year. At the beginning of the year, you usually receive this form. Every employer must provide employees who received at least $600 over the year, a W2 form.
Your W2 can basically outline if you still owe tax money (or if you're getting a tax refund).
Therefore, you need this document to determine your earnings. That said, the W2 offers more than just a summary of your compensation. It shows how much you contributed to your retirement plan (such as a 401k), what you paid for health insurance, and if you made any other deductions.
If you ignore your W2, you'll likely be hearing from the IRS. Expect to pay some hefty fees and penalties.

Legal Limitations Of W-2 Forms

The IRS requires that employers provide W2 forms to the government and employees by January 31. Failure to comply can result in penalties.
Note that this doesn't mean you'll receive your W2 by January 31. It just means that your employer must get it into the mail by that date. While not required, they can also send employees W-3 forms electronically.
If you quit your job, your ex-employers can still wait until January 31 to send your form. However, you can ask for it earlier. If you do ask earlier, they must provide it to you within 30 days.

W-2 Errors

Like all documents, you should scan your W2 form thoroughly upon receiving it. Employers may leave out a 0, or, they may spell your last name wrong by a letter. If this is the case, you need to notify your employer of the error. This will take some time, but it's essential. The IRS can fine your employer for such mistakes.

How To Get A W-2 From A Previous Employer

As a general rule of thumb, if your W2 doesn't arrive by Valentine's Day, you'll need to take some action steps.

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Reach Out To Your Former Employer

Ask your former HR representative for a copy. Make sure that you have provided them with the correct address. Were you working for a very small business or startup? They may not have an HR representative. In that case, it's more than appropriate to reach out to your boss directly.
Don't worry about coming across as pushy. Be firm with your request. After all, they are aware of the laws.

Investigate With Payroll

You may be able to obtain your W2 by contacting your payroll administrator. You can typically contact them through phone or email. You will need to confirm the necessary details of your employment. You will also need to verify your current address. If the payroll administrator reports they have already mailed it, ask them to confirm the date. You can also request for a replacement form.

Contact The IRS Directly

If the above methods don't work, have no fear! You can speak with Uncle Sam directly. They will ask you relevant information about your employer. They will also ask you about your salary and wages. To make it simple on everyone, locate your company's Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can find this number on your last pay stub on last year's form.
The IRS will contact your employer and request the missing form. They will also issue you a Form 4852 to fill out.

Filing Your Taxes

Regardless of when you receive your W2, your tax return is still due on April 15. That means you may need to estimate your withholdings and earnings to complete your return on time. The IRS allows individuals to use Form 4852 as an alternative to your W2 form. This form is used when:

  • employers do not provide W2 forms
  • employers provide wrong or inaccurate information on the forms

However, you must try and secure your W2 before seeking this option. On this form, you will need to provide your wages, tips, and other compensation. You will also need to indicate that you notified the IRS about not receiving a W2 (or receiving one with errors). Always keep a copy of Form 4852 for your records.
This will be needed in the event of an audit. It may also be needed to receive social security benefits for that particular work year. If you receive your W2 after filing your taxes with a Form 4852, you must amend your return by filing out Form 1040x. You are held liable for filling your income tax return with accurate information.
This applies regardless of the form- and regardless of whether or not the information was originally correct. The IRS can audit and penalize individuals who attempt to avoid or reduce federal tax liability. Be as accurate and honest as possible when completing these forms.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to get a W2 from a previous employer, it's time to take action! You are in charge of your financial well-being. That means you are in charge of getting your taxes done quickly and efficiently. Are you a business owner and need to generate W2 forms for your employees? Try out our W2 generator today! You won't be disappointed!
 

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