2024 tax season: What to do if you don't have a W-2

The W-2 form is probably one of the most familiar IRS tax forms for those working in the United States. It is also one of the most important pieces of information for filing your annual taxes, as it shows your total payroll and the amount of tax withheld for the previous year.

This story is part of 2024 taxesCNET covers the best tax software, tax tips, and everything else you need to file your return and track your refund.

Most full-time and part-time employees must receive a W-2 from their employer before filing their income tax return each tax season, and companies have until January 31 of each year to provide W-2s to employees. must be provided to members. That means the company has just two days to get her W-2.
We've detailed everything you need to know about Form W-2. We've explained in detail what a Form W-2 is, what it includes, when you can expect to receive your W-2, and what to do if you don't receive it. He should not receive a W-2 from his employer.

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for many, Here are the best tax software for filing your 2024 returna cheat sheet for filing this year's taxes and everything you need to know about the 2024 Child Tax Credit.

What is a W-2 form?

Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement is an official record of the previous year's wages and taxes withheld.

The form can also include the following information:

  • Tips and other compensation
  • Contributions to a retirement plan such as a 401(k)
  • Contributing to a health savings account
  • Cost of medical benefits

Whether you pay your taxes on paper or on your computer, phone or professional tax accountantYou must use the information on Form W-2 to complete your return.

What information does the W-2 form include?

Screenshot of 2022 W-2 form Screenshot of 2022 W-2 form

Although Box 9 still appears on W-2 forms, it is no longer used by the IRS.

IRS/Screenshot by Peter Butler/CNET

Here's a quick breakdown of all the boxes and data on your W-2.

Boxes A-F: The text boxes at the top and left side of the form contain identifying information for both you and your employer, such as business name, address, social security number, and employer tax identification number. (The “control number” is simply a unique ID to identify her W-2 within the employer's system.)

box 1 and 2: These two boxes contain the most important information for most taxpayers: the total amount of wages, tips, and other compensation, and the total amount of federal income tax withheld for the year.

Boxes 3-6: These boxes show how much of your income is subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes, as well as how much tax you pay on both.

boxes 7 and 8: If you were compensated in tips, these two boxes show the amount of tip income you reported and the amount of tips your employer reported paying you.

box 9: Don't worry about box 9 being mysteriously grayed out. This was previously used to report earned credit advances. This tax benefit ended in 2010, but there are still spots left.

Boxes 10 and 11: Box 10 shows the dependent care benefits you received, and Box 11 includes deferred compensation.

box 12: This box contains additional compensation or reductions in taxable income, and 28 items can be included here, each designated by a one-letter or two-letter code. Some of these codes are required to be included on your tax return, while others are for informational purposes only.

box 13: The three options here represent income that is not subject to federal tax. This can be money earned through employer-sponsored retirement plans (such as a 401(k) account), third-party sick pay (such as private insurance), or as a statutory employee.

box 14: This box acts as a wrap-up for employers to report additional tax information such as tuition assistance and union dues. Employers can also include certain state and local taxes here.

One common item in Box 14 is the payment of state disability insurance premiums, which are deductible for some taxpayers.

Box 15-20: The box at the bottom of the W-2 form displays income and withholding data for the tax year related to state taxes. This section also includes the employer's state ID number.

When will I receive my Form W-2?

Form W-2 must be received by the following deadlines: January 31, 2024. At this time, the employer is required by law to provide every employee and her W-2 to the IRS.

Many companies still send W-2 forms by mail, but many also make them available online. W-2 forms may be provided by a third party that processes your company's payroll, such as ADP or Gusto.

What if I can't get a W-2?

If you don't have your form by the end of January, first check to make sure your employer didn't email you instructions on how to access your W-2 form online. According to IRS Publication 15A, if an employee opts in, an employer can provide an electronic version of her W-2 form. (Be sure to check your spam or junk email folders in case the email ends up there.)
If you do not have the form and have not been sent instructions, contact your human resources or payroll department to inquire about the status of your W-2. You can also contact us if you have lost your W-2.

If your employer is not cooperative, contact the IRS directly at 800-829-1040. The agency contacts the employer and requests her missing W-2 form.
The IRS recommends waiting until the end of February to see if your W-2 arrives before contacting the IRS. To verify your identity, you will need to have some information ready.

  • Your legal name, address, social security number, and telephone number
  • Employer's name, address, and phone number
  • Dates worked for employer
  • Estimated payroll and income taxes withheld. (This will appear on your last payslip for the year.)

If you don't receive or can't access your W-2 form by the April 15 tax day, file your tax return using Form 4852, a W-2 replacement that allows you to estimate your income and withholdings. can be submitted. Tax. If you later discover that the information on your return differs from the W-2, you must file an amended return.

You can also request a six-month filing extension, which gives you more time to track down your W-2, by filing Form 4868. If you don't think you owe taxes, you don't have to pay anything. If you owe taxes, you must pay the estimated amount when you apply for an extension or you may be subject to penalties later.

For more tax tips, Learn when you can get your 2024 tax refund and the fastest way to get your refund this year.

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