How do you do your taxes without a W-2

Have you received all of your W-2s? These documents are essential for completing individual tax returns.  Employers have until January 31 to provide or send you a 2013 W-2 earnings statement, either electronically or in paper form. If you have not received your W-2, what are you supposed to do?


  1.  Generally, when a W-2 or 1099 are missing, it is best to still provide us with  everything else for the return.  That way, your return can be finished as soon as the W-2 or 1099 is available, which will speed up your refund, if you are receiving one. Remember, we don’t have to have the physical W-2. You can always email or fax us a copy.
  2.  Contact your employer to inquire if and when the W-2 was mailed. If it was mailed, it may have been returned to the employer due to an incorrect or incomplete address. After contacting the employer, allow a reasonable amount of time for the employer to resend or re-issue the W-2.
  3. If you still have not received your W-2 by February 15, you can contact the IRS for assistance at 800-829-1040. However, we recommend that you hold off from contacting the IRS until you are certain that you will not be receiving a W-2 from the employer. If you do call the IRS, have the following information on hand:


  • Employer’s name, address, city, and state, including zip code;
  • Your name, address, city, state, zip code, and Social Security number; and
  • An estimate of the wages you earned, the federal income tax withheld, and the period in which you worked for that employer. The estimate should be based on year-to-date information from your final pay stub, or your leave-and-earnings statement, if possible. This office can assist you with making the estimate.


4. Even if you don’t receive a W-2, you are still required to file your tax return or to request a filing extension by April 15.


  • If you anticipate that you will ultimately receive the missing W-2, we can estimate your 2013 tax liability and file extensions for you. If you have a substantial refund coming, you may opt to have this office prepare a substitute W-2, enabling you to file without the W-2. Refunds for returns that include substitute W-2s can be delayed significantly while the IRS verifies the W-2 information.


  • If you don’t anticipate receiving the missing W-2, then we can prepare a substitute W-2, enabling you to file your 2013 tax return.


If a substitute W-2 is used and it is later determined that the information used to prepare the substitute W-2 was in error, an amended return may need to be prepared for you to file with the IRS and state tax agency, if applicable.


Please call us you have questions or need assistance about missing W-2s, 1099s, or other tax documents.


Oftentimes, we find clients make certain assumptions and get all wound up and they don’t need to, so talk to us.


If you’re an employer and know you need to issue W-2’s to your employees, but feel lost on what to do, well….we can help there too.


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Copyright 2014 by Steven A Feinberg (@CPAsteve) of Appletree Business Services LLC, a PASBA member accountant, located in Londonderry, New Hampshire, with more than twenty- five years experience on Federal and New Hampshire issues affecting small business, and specializes in keeping his clients OnTrack with bookkeeping, tax, and payroll services for a fixed monthly fee. Learn more about Steve’s exclusive SIX Step system developed for small businesses at


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