Very late W-2
March 27, 2007 5:00 PM   Subscribe

My employer has not given me my W-2. I've contacted the IRS, and gotten a substitute form that I have to fill out myself, but since I was never given paystubs, (tax information was usually written on the paycheck itself, and, being silly.lazy, I didn't photocopy my checks,) I have to guess at the amount I owe. I'm also concerned about filing for Arizona income tax, but when I called them they said I don't need a W-2, which dosen't make much sense. I've gotten the run-around from my employer (the company owner,) with her blaming the accountant. I want my W-2, but I also think they deserve some sort of punishment/sanction for this. What can I do?
posted by Snyder to Work & Money (10 answers total)
First, you can ask your bank for copies of the cheques.

Sorry, no advice on tackling the employer, but it does seem as though they should get some sort of sanction.
posted by joannemerriam at 5:04 PM on March 27, 2007

Consumerist had a post on this just today!
posted by Dec One at 5:06 PM on March 27, 2007

I'm also concerned about filing for Arizona income tax, but when I called them they said I don't need a W-2, which dosen't make much sense.

No, it doesn't. You usually get the gross income for the state from your 1040, but the only place to get the AZ tax withheld is the W-2.
posted by smackfu at 6:19 PM on March 27, 2007

When you called the IRS, did you ask about how you could report your employer for this? If not, that's probably the place to start.

Regarding the runaround: Your employer just owes you the W-2 -- who's fault it is (internally or externally) is not your concern. Just keep at the person who owes you the document and don't let them refer you to someone else.

Tangent: Are there any other signs that the company's finances are in disarray? Seems to me that this may be an indication of a sinking ship.
posted by winston at 6:48 PM on March 27, 2007

I don't know for fact, but I'm pretty sure that's illegal, and would say that you might want to file an extension until August for your taxes so that you can have time to get it right the first time.
posted by andifsohow at 6:49 PM on March 27, 2007

here's a stupid question, but were you on salary? if you were paid hourly, you might not get a w-2, if they hired you as a contractor/freelancer/hourly worker. if that's the case, you would be getting a 1099 instead of a w-2.

i would call your employer back and talk to the accountant. see if the accountant can at least send you a summary of all checks paid to you in the past year.

to see if your employer witheld tax, simply look at how much you were paid vs. the salary you were promised. if you were paid about 20% less, then the employer was witholding tax. or lying. if they witheld the tax, your employer owes you the paperwork. if they give you the runaround, then it means they're keeping the witheld tax for themselves, which is illegal, and i would consult with the irs about next steps. if they didn't withold the tax for you, then you just have to add it up yourself.

in the meantime, file for an extension if you can't get it sorted out this week.

what a pain! perservere.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:20 PM on March 27, 2007

IRS's official advice here

were you on salary? if you were paid hourly, you might not get a w-2, if they hired you as a contractor/freelancer/hourly worker. if that's the case, you would be getting a 1099 instead of a w-2.

Employees should always get a W-2. It's a mandatory filing for the employer, and at this point 2 months past deadline. A bona fide contractor (which salaried employees are not) gets a 1099 instead, though 1099 is sometimes optional if total payments for the year were under $600. In short: heck yeah they owe you a form. Call the # in the IRS link.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:31 PM on March 27, 2007

Based on personal experience (as the employee), it sounds to me like they intended to pay you off the books, and you're now putting them in a spot by insisting on paying your taxes. You might want to ask your co-workers whether they ever filled out W-2s. If not, then you and your employer may have such different points of view on the role of taxes and government in society, that you would be better off just finding another job. Unless there are huge amounts of money at stake, illegal immigrants are involved, or the business is already under suspicion of doing something worse, I don't think the IRS will care.
posted by bingo at 11:08 PM on March 27, 2007

I am going through the exact same experience... I quit my last job in November of 2006. (Insane Workplace in Boss's Home!)

I contacted my former boss - who said that the W-2's would be arriving in the mail in a matter of days. No dice. I spoke with other former employees and same story.

We contacted my former employer's accountant and he informed us that he had not seen former employer in several months.

I contacted IRS on February 15th and they sent me forms and a "letter urging my former employer to send on W-2's."

I contacted my bank and got copies of every single paycheck that I cashed or deposited in 2006. I somehow sweet talked a very nice woman into doing the research when she had time and the bank did not charge me for this service...

I had my parents' accountant do all of the number crunching and have now filed my tax forms with IRS.

I also have a friend that is a Tax Attorney and he told me that my former employer will have some major penalties levied against him. Although my former boss cut taxes, he apparently neglected to pay them to the Feds... My friend says that you cannot run from a Federal Tax Lien - your employer is in serious trouble with the IRS.

Luckily, I incurred no fees during this episode and I am getting a refund from the IRS. I still have resentments against my old boss.

I should have known to have never worked for a Department of Defense contractor. Bad stuff happened. I don't want to hijack this thread with what all led to my letter of resignation.

Let us just say it involved broken promises, a murder investigation, and ferret shit.

Are you looking for another job.

You should be.
posted by cinemafiend at 11:13 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

What has happened is that your "employer" has been paying you off the books. You will find that you aren't getting social security or unemployment insurance credits for this time worked, as well as that your income tax bill will be higher than expected this year. A question: has the employer paid you (by check) less than the rate they agreed upon? That is:

--you worked $10 hours at $10/hour. Was your paycheck less than $100?

If so, they're stealing from you as well as paying you off the books, because the money they "withheld" from your paycheck wasn't transmitted on to the government. If not, they were merely paying you off the books, and you should basically treat it as a 1099 situation.

The IRS has many webpages about this subject. "What if I didn't receive a W-2?" "What if my employer didn't withhold taxes from my paycheck?" Etc. They also make it easy to drop a dime on your employer and rat them out.
posted by jellicle at 6:53 AM on March 28, 2007

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