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All You Need to Know About Your W-2 and What To Do If You Don’t Receive It

By Erik Folgate

Here are some great tips about your W-2 from JK Lasser. Your W-2 is the most important tax document that you’ll receive, so don’t lose it! And make sure you’re looking out for it in the mail this week and the next.

Mailboxes and tight waistbands are usually the last reminders of holiday excess. But what’s coming in the mail isn’t all bad news. Arriving with the holiday bills are the Forms 1099 and W-2 that are critical to preparing your tax return and claiming your refund.

WHO? Employers are required by law to furnish a Form W-2, “Wages and Tax Statement”.

WHAT? Form W-2, “Wages and Tax Statement” is like a receipt that details your wages, various tax payments, and identifies your taxable income. Most importantly, it is your proof you paid your taxes, at least the portion that was withheld by your employer.

WHERE? Forms W-2 (and 1099’s) are sent to your last known address. If it is missing and you have moved recently, check with new occupants of your old residence or local post office.

WHY? Without Form W-2 you will not be able to complete your tax return and claim your refund.

WHEN? By January 31, 2008 (if mailed allow a few days for delivery).

So, what do you do if your employer went out of business, lost information in a disaster or simply refuses to comply with the law? Believe or not the IRS will be your best resource.

It’s February 15th and my W-2 hasn’t arrived, now what?

Taxpayers still waiting by the mailbox by February 15th should call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. After supplying information about your employer, date of employment and an estimate of wages earned and taxes paid. The IRS will help locate and contact a delinquent employer. After which the IRS will help taxpayers complete a Form 4852 Substitute Form W-2.

Check the Forms and W-2’s
Verify that your name, address, and Social Security number are correct. If the information doesn’t match what you enter the return will be altered, filing status may be changed and refund refigured by the IRS.

Newly Married or Divorced?

Contact the Social Security Administration to make a name change official. The name and number on file must match when you file.

Paperwork for Speedier Tax Prep
Specific paperwork is required in order to claim certain deductions and credits and compute those deductions and credits. So, if you haven’t already….

Contact charities for a written acknowledgements or receipts if you made cash donations in any denomination or donations of property of $250 or more. Contact your daycare provider for their tax identification information that is required to claim the dependent care credit. Check your investment records. Don’t overlook small amounts of interest income or forget about losses that can shelter gain and sometimes ordinary income from taxation.
Important Forms 1099 include:

1099-INT for Interest income

1099-B Proceeds from the sale of securities

1099-DIV- Qualified and non-qualified dividends

1099-SSA-Social Security earnings and

1099-R-Distributions from IRAs, pensions, and annuities.

Good Luck, this tax season. Every tax season that passes by, makes me like the idea of the Fair Tax. I know there’s so much controversy about it and it’s a nice idea that would never work, but anything that would wipe out the IRS, seems like a good thing to me.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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