I don't live there! I've never lived there!
February 13, 2014 7:34 AM   Subscribe

The mailing address on my W2 is incorrect and the employer refuses to amend it. How big of a problem is this going to be when I file my taxes?

I work in Manhattan and live in the NYC Metro area, just for context.

Last year in June, after many months of unemployment, I started a temp job that eventually, as of January 1 of this year, went permanent. (YAY!) I was placed in this temp job by a very large, famous, and reputable temp agency that has branches nationwide. At the time I started the job I was in a long-term house sitting arrangement for friends who live on the Upper East Side who were traveling. When I completed all of the paperwork with the temp agency in order to start the job, I informed them that I was living on the UES at the moment but my legal, permanent address was an hour north of the city. They asked me to provide both my physical address on the UES and my mailing address outside the city, and I did so.

In October my friends came back from their trip and I moved back to my residence outside the city and commuted to the city each day for work (which is something I have done for the last three years, save for the months during which I was unemployed).

Cut to last week: my friends on the UES contacted me saying that they had gotten some mail delivered to them addressed to me. When I went to pick it up from them, I discovered that it was my W2 from the temp agency. They had issued it listing the UES address as my address.

This is frustrating because I made it clear to the agency that the UES address was not my permanent, legal address, and I made it a point to make sure that they were using my actual legal address for payroll purposes. I never once received any mail while I was staying at my friends' house - never bothered to forward my mail because it seemed unnecessary (I would go back north each weekend to get it). My address is listed correctly on my paystubs, but for whatever reason it got messed up with my W2.

I called my contact at the midtown branch of the agency to explain the situation and he said he couldn't do anything about it on his end, as the W2s for all employees nationwide are processed centrally through the agency's HQ in California. He gave me a number to call at the CA office to get this fixed. So I called, and the woman I spoke with basically said whoops, our bad, we can't fix it. I pushed back a little bit, explaining that the address on my W2 is totally wrong (it wasn't even like I was a subletter!), but she would not budge.

(I realize in retrospect I shouldn't have even told the agency about my house sitting address because it was moot.)

Anyway, my question at this point is, given the fact that the agency is flat-out refusing to issue me a corrected W2, is it going to be a problem for me when I do my taxes that this W2 was filed with the IRS using an address that was never legally mine? How much of a bureaucratic nightmare will this be? Or am I panicking for no reason?
posted by thereemix to Work & Money (8 answers total)
I think you're panicking for no reason. As long as your name is spelled correctly and your social security number is accurate on the W2, the IRS shouldn't care about the address. People move all the damn time; what's important to the IRS is accurate reporting of wages/salary paid for each person.
posted by shiny blue object at 7:44 AM on February 13, 2014 [5 favorites]

I have filed taxes with a W2 that had an out-of-date address on it and it was a complete nonissue. It was an address that I was not legally on a lease for but rather renting a room from the leaseholder. (It was a year where I earned like $700, though, so big whoop, maybe they just didn't care enough about it to care about the address.)

The one "problem" I could maybe see arising from this is on future questionnaires for bank accounts and credit reports and such...you know how they always have those ID verifications like "which of the following streets have you lived on?" I'm not sure where they get that info, but it occurs to me that maybe filing taxes with that address might mean it goes on that list of personal data.

So...don't worry about it but also don't forget that address in case you might need it in the future?
posted by phunniemee at 7:46 AM on February 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

We've had former IRS employees say the wrong address doesn't matter:

Someone else in that thread mentioned that you might have paid municipal taxes for the wrong city, so that would be something to look into.
posted by belladonna at 7:48 AM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think typically it wouldn't matter whether the addresses are accurate, but in this case you may be required to pay NYC income tax that you may not have had to pay otherwise. It is calculated based on the days you lived in the city, but I can't say whether your house-sitting arrangement would constitute residency. I'd check with an accountant on this one.
posted by marshmallow peep at 7:49 AM on February 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

It is going to be zero problem.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 7:55 AM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am with marshmellow peep. This will be a red flag for NYC if you don't pay their taxes. You will spend time proving how many days you lived where and where you lived when you were working. Ultimately, I think it will square away, but it may take some time. If you are ok with paying NYC resident taxes, then this is a non issue.

Whomever helps you file your taxes should research this.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:59 AM on February 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you own the property at that northern address, I could see this having an impact.
posted by slidell at 8:05 AM on February 13, 2014

I agree with others this is largely a problem if NYC tax was wrongly withheld (and you will claim as such on your return). I had an employer do something similar. I filed my taxes correctly claiming a full refund of the NYC tax. I also had to state somewhere on the return that I had requested a corrected W2c and my employer had failed to provide that. Later I got a bill from NYS saying I owed all that NYC tax. I spent some time on the phone with NYSDOR through all this and had to send them documentation of my residence. That took care of the whole thing. But like I said, multiple calls to NYSDOR.

So I would recommend you call and explain the situation and they will guide you through it.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:31 AM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

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