What To Do About Your Missing W-2 And 1099 Forms

While the receipt of Forms W-2 and Forms 1099 by the end of January are key for taxpayers wishing to get a jump on preparing their tax returns, knowing what to do if those documents aren’t received is also important.

The due date for employers to submit Forms W-2 to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and employees is January 31 and the date for payors to submit Forms 1099 to payees is also January 31. Penalties are stiff for employers and payors who don’t provide these forms on time and grow stiffer as time goes on. If a Form W-2 or a Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc., is not received by early February or the information on the form is incorrect, the following actions should be taken:

1. The employee/payee should contact the employer or the payor of the Form 1099-R income and ask for his or her Form W-2 or Form 1099-R and double check that the employer/payor has the right address.

2. If, by the end of February, the missing or corrected Form W-2 or Form 1099-R has not been received, then the taxpayer should call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS will contact the employer/payor and request the missing or corrected form. The IRS will also send the taxpayer a 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. The IRS will need the following information:

  • Taxpayer name, address (including Zip code), social security number, and phone number;
  • The employer/payor’s name, address (including Zip code), phone number, and employer identification number (if known);
  • If applicable, the dates the taxpayer worked for the employer; and
  • If applicable, an estimate of the amount of wages paid and federal income tax withheld in 2018 (using, if possible, the final pay stub to figure these amounts).

3. File on time. Form 1040 is due April 15, 2019.                                                                                                                                 

Taxpayers who haven’t received their Form W-2 or Form 1099-R in time to file can use the Form 4852 to estimate their wages or payments and withheld taxes as accurately as possible. The IRS may delay processing the return while it verifies the information.

Taxpayers who need more time can apply for a six-month automatic extension to file their federal tax return by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

Taxpayers may need to correct their tax return if they get their missing Form W-2 or Form 1099-R after Form 1040 is filed. If the tax information on the Form W-2 or Form 1099-R is different from what was originally reported, an amended tax return may need to be filed. In this case, the taxpayer must file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to make the change.

Taxpayers who have not received a Form 1099-MISC and are unsure of their Form 1099 income should contact the payor and ask the payor to issue or re-issue (in the case of a lost form) the Form 1099-MISC. However, if a taxpayer has the records that prove how much income he or she received during the year, there is no requirement to attach the Form 1099-MISC to the tax return and the taxpayer can just use his or her records to complete the tax return reporting such information.