Ask the taxgirl: Where are my tax forms?

Taxpayer asks:

I have not received my W2 and I want to do my taxes. When are we supposed to get them?

Taxgirl says:

You should receive your forms W-2 or 1099 by January 31.

If you haven’t received your forms, you should first contact your employer (or the issuer). You might not have received the form because of an incomplete or bad address, so check to make sure that your info is correct.

I’ve heard from a lot of folks that their employers are no longer in business, or have moved. I would still recommend making the effort to contact your employer – try putting something in writing to the last known address of the employer. It’s quite possible that there is a forwarding order at the post office so that someone is getting the mail. Businesses that have wrapped up their affairs are not excused from filing their tax forms, so some arrangements should have been made to take care of these matters.

That said, if you have made the effort to contact the employer and still didn’t receive your forms (or if your forms were incorrect), you can contact the IRS. The IRS does not want to hear from you about missing forms until after February 14, so don’t contact them until after that date.

Contact the IRS by calling 1.800.829.1040. You’ll need to have your personal info handy, including address, phone number, Social Security Number, your dates of employment and the name, address and phone number of your employer.

The IRS will contact your employer (or the form issuer) with a form 4598, Form W-2, 1098 or 1099 Not Received, Incorrect, or Lost. You will receive a copy of the form 4598, along with a form 4852, Substitute for Form W–2 or Form 1099–R. If you still do not receive your form W-2, you should use file a form 4852 (downloadable here as a pdf); the IRS requests that you not file the form 4852 until April 15.

Like any good lawyer, I need to add a disclaimer: Unfortunately, it is impossible to give comprehensive tax advice over the internet, no matter how well researched or written. Before relying on any information given on this site, contact a tax professional to discuss your particular situation.

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10 thoughts on “Ask the taxgirl: Where are my tax forms?

  1. I received an email from Charles Schwab the other day stating that they had until Feb 15th to send my 1099-INT. They said it was due to a bill that was passed in Congress. Does that bill maybe apply to W2’s as well?

  2. Thanks for pointing that out – though Charles Schwab isn’t quite right! The law that you’re referring to changed the deadline from Jan. 31 to Feb. 15 for forms 1099-B (brokerage statements) but not for other forms 1099. The other forms 1099 are still required to be on time. You can read the press release from IRS on the IRS site here .

  3. Actually, Schwab does have until Feb 15. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (PL 110-343) amended section 6045 (returns of brokers) to change the deadline for statements provided to customers from Jan. 31 to Feb. 15, as well as adding a sentence:

    In the case of a consolidated reporting statement (as defined in regulations) with respect to any customer, any statement which would otherwise be required to be furnished on or before January 31 of a calendar year with respect to any item reportable to the taxpayer shall instead be required to be furnished on or before February 15 of such calendar year if furnished with such consolidated reporting statement.

    The IRS issued Notice 2009-11 to clarify that although a “consolidated reporting statement” is not currently defined, because a broker’s composite 1099 includes 1099-B information, the deadline for issuing a composite 1099 statement, which would also include 1099-int and 1099-div information, is now Feb. 15 under the statute.

  4. Vinny – You’re right, I clarified that in my post on the matter – not sure if you saw it yet or not. Technically, though, the 1099-DIV form is only extended if in conjunction with a 1099-B, as you pointed out. Financial institutions which are issuing a straight 1099-INT or 1099-DIV are, as I understand from IRS, still held to the January 31 deadline.

    I love the title of the bill. Kind of alerts you right at the beginning that they’re going to amend tax form extension dates. 😉

  5. My wife and I still have not recieved our federal and state income tax “booklets” with forms etc… Whats up?

  6. Booklets are not automatically being mailed out this year, so far as I know. You should download the booklets from or call and order your forms from IRS by calling 1-800-829-3676.

  7. Just an alert that for those who use Charles Schwab as broker, Schwab makes a lot of errors in cost basis (allocations and simple math), wash sales (excluding cost after all shares sold), reporting sales proceeds money that you never received, mishandling mergers and acquisitions. It will cost you in extra taxes if you do not monitor every transaction and form that Schwab prepares. Their cost basis department is a real mess.

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