How to Replace W2 and other Tax Documents

Did you lose or never receive your W2? We don’t always have the greatest organizational skills, do we? Or perhaps a former employer had the wrong mailing address.  Important tax documents can be easy to misplace or maybe we just didn’t receive them when we were supposed to. We certainly don’t want to incur penalties for filing our taxes with incomplete or incorrect information. Here is how to replace W2 and other tax documents:

Replace W2 Form, Wage and Tax Statement

The W-2 is the most important, relevant form for taxpayers. To replace a W-2 that was already filed with the IRS, the taxpayer can request copies of W2s from the past six years through the IRS. Online requests can take as long as 10 days to fulfill while fax or mail can take up to 30 days. However, it can be faster to ask the employer about a missing W2.  It’s going to take a little time in either case, so it’s best not to wait until the last minute if you need replacement tax forms.

But what if my employer did not give me a W2?

Because employers are required to send W-2s to employees by January 31, allow up to two weeks for forms to reach you.  If you haven’t received a W-2 you can ask your employer if the form was mailed, check to make sure they have the correct mailing address and/or request another copy.  If you still aren’t able to retrieve a copy of your W2 you don’t necessarily need to replace it.  If you didn’t receive a W-2 from your employer, you can use IRS Form 4852 to take the place of your W-2; and, you can still e-file your tax return.

The 1099 Form Family

The three most relevant 1099 forms include: Form 1099-INT, Interest Income; Form 1099-DIV, Dividends and Distributions; and Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income.

The deadline for 1099 forms is January 31st, so they may not arrive until early February. Form 1099-INT and Form 1099-DIV can be requested from the appropriate financial institution or bank that would be issuing them. These forms do not need to be included when filing tax returns. The issuing financial institution may make the information available through a web-based service or summaries instead of supplying the actual form.

Form 1099-MISC is an important form for freelancers, independent contractors, and sole proprietors who receive their income from part-time employers or direct clients. The taxpayer should be issued a copy of Form 1099-MISC from each client or employer who pays them more than $600 in a year. It is not necessary to include these forms with the return, but they will be required if the taxpayer is flagged for an audit.

Donation Receipts

Donations are a common way to reduce one’s taxable income. The size of the donation, whether it is cash or non-cash, is the deciding factor in whether or not appropriate documentation is required.

A cash or non-cash donation of less than $250 may only require a statement from the receiving party.

Donations greater than $250 require a written acknowledgment from the donation recipient for each item at the time of the donation. Non-cash donations worth more than $5000 require a qualified appraisal.

Many organizations do not issue replacements for lost or stolen receipts. It is a good idea to take pictures of donation receipts for an additional back up. Generally speaking, so long as the value is under $500 and appropriately itemized, the IRS will overlook the lack of documentation.

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