Taxpayers Should Double-Check Their Documents

Taxpayers who haven’t received a W-2 or Form 1099 should contact their employer, payer, or issuing agency and request the missing documents BEFORE filing their taxes or submitting their information to a tax preparer. This also applies to those who received an incorrect W-2 or Form 1099.

The IRS attempts to match business payments with earned wages and other receipts. Discrepancies can be a red flag that may come back to haunt a taxpayer if it is deemed that income has been hidden to avoid a tax liability.

The first step is to contact the issuing agency — the employer, business, unemployment department, or pension fund manager — for the missing or corrected forms. But if a form is not received in time to file a tax return, income can be estimated and filed as Form 4852.

Form 4852 is a substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement or Form 1099-R, Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, and other tax documents.

Estimates should be as accurate as possible, because if a missing document arrives after filing the return and the information differs from the estimate, an amended tax return must be filed, which adds to the cost of tax preparation services.

By the end of January, most taxpayers should have received income documents, including
• W-2: Wage and Tax Statement
• 1099-MISC: Miscellaneous Income
• 1099-INT: Interest Income
• 1099-NEC: Non-employee Compensation
• 1099-G: Government Payments such as unemployment compensation