Filing Your Tax Return with Your Last Paystub

Although employers are required to send you a W-2 by January 31st of each year, if you are expecting a refund, you may want to know if you can file your tax return with your last paystub. The answer is yes; you can do anything you want. However, you should not rely on your last paystub as a substitute for a W-2 and should wait until you receive the official records of everything needed to file your tax return.

Here are some reason why you should not file your tax return with your last paystub.

  • Your last paystub of the year is not always an accurate statement of your total earnings. A W-2 is the official record of your wages. It could be different then your last paystub depending on how pay periods end at your job. For example, your first paycheck in January could include earnings from the prior year. It could also include other earnings such as commissions and bonuses. The W-2 from your employer will reflect the correct amount you need to report.
  • If you worked more than one job or had other types of income, you should not file your tax return with your last paystub. Your tax return should include all sources of income.
  • You may also need other tax related documents. Statements from banks, daycares and college are just some of the other information you may need. This depends on whether you will be claiming certain deductions or credits.
  • If you file without fully accurate information, you could end up being forced to file an amended return later. This can be a hassle because you can’t e-file an amendment. They must be printed and mailed to the IRS.
  • The IRS won’t begin processing returns anyway until the end of January. Any early tax returns will just sit waiting until the date the IRS begins accepting returns.

These are just some of the reasons why filing your tax return with your last paystub is not a good idea. You can always start your tax return with your last paystub, but should wait to submit the return until you have everything you need to ensure your return is accurate.

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