Every one of us go through this yearly predicament where you bang your head against the wall to find out how to calculate income tax. Since your annual income is higher than the minimum income to file taxes, you can not escape filing income tax returns. Regular taxpayers start compilation of their tax information as early as the beginning of the new calendar year, so that they can file their income tax in time. Most of the time, the employer gives out most of the tax related documents and forms by the end of January 31. An employee receives all these tax related documents, including the W2 form, by the first week of February. He can then start the process of tax preparation. But, what if the W2 form is missing from all the tax filing documents that you have? Or worse, what if your previous employer has gone out of business?
What is the W2 Form?
The W2 form is a part of the income tax return system of the United States of America. It is also called Wage and Tax Statement which is an information return to report wages paid to the employees and the taxes withheld from them. The W2 form must be filled out by the employer for each of his paid employee who receive it as salary, wage, or in the form of any other compensation, on the part of their employment relationship. The Internal Revenue Service also states that the process of sending the W2 form to the employees must be completed before January 31 of that calendar year. However, the point of the debate here is can an employee file taxes without this form.
How to File Tax Returns Without W2
The sooner you file your taxes, the sooner you get the refunds. But what to do when you don't have the W2 form in your hands yet? Well, the first step is to gather your all final paychecks for the previous year. The most recent paycheck is the most important for you, as you need to mention its details on the W2 form. Now, get the Employer Information Number of your company along with its Federal Tax ID Number. If you are finding it hard to get the number, then you can also get it from the tax ID search websites. Remember that you are required to be a member of this site, and it is free for the first 5 searches only. However, unless it's an eleventh hour filing, you should wait for the employer to give you the W2 form.
How to File Tax Return in Case of Missing W2
You can still file tax returns in case your employer has gone out of business, before sending you the W2 form. The first thing that you need to do is to contact the previous employer and try to make an honest attempt in order to get the tax return receipt. Send him a certified letter, which will serve as a proof that you made some serious attempts. Gather your last known paycheck, as now it is the most recent document that contains annual pay and tax withholding information. Also gather some identification information like Federal ID number of the employer, name, last known address, and his Social Security Number, if possible. Now, contact the Internal Revenue Service for help, which is the best place from where you can expect the maximum help to file tax returns.
You can then get a copy of the Form 4852 of IRS which is titled as Substitute for Form W2, Wage and Tax Statement, or Form 1009R, Distributions Form Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRA's, Insurance Contracts, etc. Till the time the government tracks the missing W2 form, you can use this substitute form. In case you do or don't get the missing W2 form, it is important to fill in the amended Form 1040X, which is titled as - Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. It is important to submit each tax return document on time, even if you want to file a tax return without the W2; because a missing W2 form is not granted as an excuse by the Internal Revenue Service.
In case you are facing any complicated tax situations then it is better to consult with a tax professional who can advise you. He is the best person to decide whether you need the W2 form to file tax returns, in the first place.