If taxpayers are missing wages and withholding information to file their individual federal income tax returns, certain steps should be taken. Businesses are required to send their employees a Form W-2 “Wage and Tax Statement” by January 31 each year. Businesses are also required to send their non-employee workers a Form 1099-NEC “Non-employee Compensation” by the same date. This year’s individual federal income tax return filing deadline is Monday, April 18. The IRS has given no indication they will extend this year’s filing date for COVID or any other reason.

Taxpayers who do not receive their W-2 or 1099 forms before April may be worried about having to pay a late filing penalty. Filers have several ways to avoid an incomplete or late return:

First, if an expected Form W-2 or 1099 is not delivered by mid-February, taxpayers should immediately contact the person or entity they worked for.

Second, if the employer or other payor doesn’t comply or can’t be reached, taxpayers should call the IRS at 800-829-1040 for assistance. Before calling, the taxpayers should have the following information ready:

  • Their name, address, phone number, taxpayer identification number, and dates of employment
  • Their employer’s name, address, phone number, and identification number (if known)

Considering the unprecedentedly high volume of calls to understaffed IRS customer support centers, taxpayers should contact the IRS as soon as possible.
The IRS will attempt to reach the employer or payor to request the missing form and will send the taxpayers a Form 4852 “Substitute for Form W-2 “Wage and Tax Statement,” which the taxpayers can attach to their return if the IRS fails to retrieve the missing form from the employer.

If taxpayers don’t receive the missing or corrected form in time to file their income tax return by the April deadline, they may estimate the wages or payments made to them, as well as any taxes withheld, by completing a Form 4852 and attaching it to their return. Form 4852 filers must include information to the best of their knowledge, their employer or payor, the missing Form W-2 or Form 1099 information, how those amounts were determined, and what efforts were made to receive either form. The Form 4852 filing instructions recommend that taxpayers use information from their last pay stub of the year.

If taxpayers receive an original or corrected form W-2 or 1099 after filing their return, they must amend their return by filing a Form 1040-X “Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.”
If taxpayers are seeking to file an amended return for a previous tax year and are missing that past year’s Form W-2 or Form 1099, the IRS’s Get Transcript tool can be used to request wage and income transcripts.
While taxpayers can request transcripts for the most recent full tax year, they may not be available until July, according to the IRS. Requests for extensions to e-file tax returns can be submitted using IRS Free File and must include an estimate of tax liability. Paper applications for extensions can be mailed via Form 4868, “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.” If approved, the extended filing deadline is October 17, 2022.

Still have questions regarding federal or state income taxes? Don’t hesitate to contact your tax return preparation professional or call jsenney@pselaw.com or 937-223-1130.