When tax time rolls around, it's important to know how to get old W-2 forms from prior jobs. Requesting a W-2 doesn't have to be complicated or cumbersome. However, not having it while reporting your taxes could cause a lot of problems. Let's take a look at the importance of this document and how you can request it from an old employer.
Why Do You Need an Old W-2?
For any employment that you've had, the employer is required by the IRS to file a W-2 for all of their employees. They report on the wages you've received and the taxes that have been taken.
When April rolls around and taxes are filed, W-2 details determine if you'll receive a refund or have to pay back. If you're contributing to a retirement plan or healthcare plan, your W-2 also provides detailed information about how much you've contributed or paid in.
How to Get Old W-2 Forms
Knowing how to get a W-2 from previous employers is an important thing to know if you're a working individual. Requesting this form has to be done ahead of time so that you receive it in time to file your taxes.
You'll need to get your W-2 by the first week of February every year. Employers have an obligation to send it out to you by a certain date, ensuring you receive it on time. However, if you've moved and didn't update your address, you will not receive it.
Reaching out to your payroll administrator can help get this squared away. Send them an e-mail or give them a call to verify they have the correct address on file for you. If they do have an incorrect address and have already mailed it out, you'll need to ask for a replacement form.
Reach Out to the IRS
If the payroll administrator or employer isn't responding to your e-mails or calls, you'll have to take the next step by calling the IRS. Having your prior employer's EIN (employer identification number) when you call the IRS will make it easier for them to look up.
It can be located on a prior year's W-2 or pay stub, but it isn't entirely necessary if you can't find it. The IRS can look the company up and then send them a reminder that they need to either respond to you or send out your W-2.
If you've reached out to both your prior employer and the IRS, and have yet to receive a W-2, you can use another form as a substitute when you're filing your taxes. Your taxes should still file with or without your W-2.
There is a form called 4852 that works as a replacement for your W-2. Instructions and a downloadable PDF found on the IRS website help. If you do receive your W-2 after your taxes file and the information is different, you'll have to file a 1040x form to send the corrected information.
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