Employer Gives You A Bad W-2, What Should You Do

Michael Lodge

by Michael Lodge

Every tax season we get clients that come into our office with bad W-2’s from their employer, or some employers didn’t even give them a W-2, or some have lost their W-2.

So what do you do, how do you deal with the IRS in reporting income that you didn’t receive a W-2 on.

Question: I received an incorrect W-2 form. My former employer won’t issue me a corrected W-2. What should I do?

Answer:

If by the end of February, your attempts to have the incorrect Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, corrected by your employer are unsuccessful, you can request that an IRS representative initiate a Form W-2 complaint. You may call the IRS toll free at 800-829-1040 or visit an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) in person.

  • The IRS will send your employer a letter requesting that they furnish you a corrected Form W-2 within ten days. The letter advises your employer of their responsibilities to provide a correct Form W-2 and of the penalties for failure to do so.
  • The IRS will send you a letter with instructions and Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or Form 1099-R, Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc. You can use the Form 4852 in the event that your employer does not provide you with the corrected Form W-2 in time to file your tax return.

Depending on the time of year, the IRS may have federal wage information in the form of a wage transcript. See Topic 159 for more information on how to get a transcript of W-2 information.

When you call the IRS or visit a TAC office, please have the following information available:

  • Your employer’s name and complete address including ZIP code, employer identification number if known (see prior year’s Form W-2 if you worked for the same employer), and telephone number,
  • Your name, address including ZIP code, social security number, and telephone number, and
  • An estimate of the wages you earned, federal income tax withheld, and the period you worked for that employer. You should base the estimate on year-to-date information from your final pay stub or leave-and-earnings statement, if possible.

If you file your return and attach Form 4852 to support the withholding amount claimed instead of a Form W-2, there may be delays processing your refund while we verify the information you gave us.

To help protect your social security benefits, keep a copy of Form 4852 until you begin receiving social security benefits, just in case there is a question about your work record and/or earnings in a particular year. After September 30 following the date shown on line 4, use a my Social Security online account or contact your local SSA office to verify wages reported by your employer.

If you receive a corrected Form W-2 after you filed your return and it does not agree with the income or withheld tax you reported on your return, file an amended return on Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

If you have a tax issue – call our office at:  877.778.1770