If you're anything like me then you must spend at least half the year pretending taxes don't exist, and the other half of the year worrying about taxes. Filing your taxes can be really stressful and kind of daunting, especially if it's your first time, but the best way to handle it is to take it one step at a time. The first thing is to get your W-2 form. But if you're like, that's great but, uh, how do I get my W-2 form? Don't worry, I've got you covered.
Take a deep breath, are you ready? Right off the bat, before you can get your hands on your W-2 form you should probably know what it is. Basically, it's the big one: your W-2 is the form from your job shows what you made over the course of the year and what amount of taxes were withheld by your employer. Literally, it is the one thing you absolutely cannot do your taxed without. Thankfully, getting your hands on it is pretty easy. Usually, your employer will send it straight to you without you even asking before the end of January, according to H&R Block. Employers have a deadline of Jan. 31 to make sure the forms are on their way, so just make sure to look out for an email or a letter in the mail (how old school I know), because you don't want to miss when your W-2 comes in.
Even better? If you use an electronic tax filing service, it might even be able to upload your W-2 directly. No fuss, no muss.
Now if Jan. 31 is fast approaching and you still haven't received your form, Bankrate suggests you contact your payroll department or whoever you usually speak to about your checks and payments. They should be able to tell you why you haven't received your W-2 yet or send one out immediately.
If your payroll department is taking too long or that option didn't work out, you can also go directly the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and let them know that you did not receive a W-2 from your employer. Before you give them a call, though, you need to have your last pay stub handy because you'll need to pull some info from it. According to Bankrate, you'll need from your pay stub, your wages, what amount you paid for Social Security and Medicare taxes, federal, state and local taxes that have been withheld (if applicable), and if you made any contributions to a pension or 401(k). You will also need the name of your company and the address.
Once you've got all that, just ring the IRS at (800) 829-1040 and they will compile all your employment and personal information (like your Social Security number) and create a 4852 form and send a copy to you and your employer, letting them know that they need to send you a W-2. If that doesn't work, you can use the 4852 form itself. Alternatively, you can download the form from the IRS website, fill it out yourself, and use that to file your taxes.
January is not quite over yet, but if you're super worried about your missing W-2 form and checking your mail obsessively, just shoot your employer a quick email to check in on the status. If nothing else, it's a little financial peace of mind.