By February 15th, you should have received most of the necessary forms to begin work on your 2010 tax return. If you haven’t received a W-2, there are a few steps you can take to track down what you need to get started.  

Contact your employer or former employer. Verify that forms were sent by mail and, if they were, make sure they have your address listed correctly.
Contact the IRS. If you don’t have any luck reaching your employer, contact the IRS for assistance. You’ll simply provide your personal information and the name, address and phone number of your employer. The IRS will attempt to reach the employer on your behalf.  
File form 4852 (substitute form W-2). To complete this form, you’ll need to know your total wages earned, payroll taxes withheld, federal and state income tax withheld, 401(k) contributions and your employer’s identification number. Finding these details might be tricky without having your last paystub so, if possible, contact your payroll department or company for the details.

If you take these steps and end up filing your return without your W-2, you may need to consider an amended return once the official forms come through. To do this you’ll use form 1040X. Processing of an amended return usually takes about 4 to 6 weeks.

In addition to missing W-2 forms, many taxpayers also struggle with tracking down 1099 forms. Like W-2s, 1099s are also usually distributed before early February. If you have not received your 1099, contact the issuer for a copy. If you are unable to reach someone, you may be able to obtain the missing data from end of year statements or through online account access.  

Just because you don’t receive a W-2 or 1099 doesn’t mean you should ignore that part of your tax situation. Make sure you think through all of your income producing activity and personal finances before signing off on your tax return. Dealing with the missing forms before filing is certainly going to be easier than opening a tax bill with interest and penalties tacked on later in the year. For assistance in tracking down your information or understanding what you need to complete your return, contact your local income tax preparation office.

Every effort has been taken to provide the most accurate and honest analysis of the tax information provided in this blog. Please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information provided. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional tax advice based on your individual needs.