No W-2 Form? Missing a 1099? You May Still File!

Posted by on January 4, 2013
Last modified:
Lost your W-2 on a messy desk? You can file taxes without a W-2

Do you need to file your tax return but are missing a W-2?

There is little that is more vexing as you prepare to file your taxes than to realize that your W-2 or 1099 form has gone missing. It might just have gotten shuffled with other papers, in which case you are set for a bout of tedious desk clearing.

Then again, you may never have received it in the first place. Previous and even current employers often fail to observe due diligence when it comes to providing an employee with the necessary tax papers at the end of the tax year. The task of obtaining them can be quite frustrating as a result.

The situation is usually made worse if you are filing a prior year tax return, at which point a company you worked for years ago may simply have ceased to exist.

Although it’s usually assumed that you can’t file your taxes without a W-2 or other income statement, W-2 or 1099 forms are not in fact essential to filing.

For example, you can file IRS Form 4852, which is a substitute for a W-2 or 1099-R, and use it to prepare your tax return. You will need to provide an acceptable estimate of your wages and tax withholding for the year.

But that’s just the problem: it’s bound to remain an estimate however close you get to the exact amounts. You end up with a tax return most likely marred by errors and discrepancies, in which case you would need to file an amended tax return at a later point.

In all cases, it is best to wait for your current year W-2 or reach out again to your employer for it if you haven’t done so already.


Photo via Jeffrey Beall on Flickr.


This entry was posted on at 1:26 pm and is filed under Tax Forms | Blog.

5 Responses to “No W-2 Form? Missing a 1099? You May Still File!”

  1. Teaoni bond says:

    I filled out my information for a tax return and have two dependents for 2011,but its showing me an amount that I know can’t possibly be right. Will be going in to the office on Austin hey today to see if they can Neil me

  2. Kevin Trussell says:

    I did my taxes on Jan 30 checked on IRS were is my refund today Feb 16 says received but still not processed i got 10,000+ due to me have a house payment filed joint with wife when can i expect to get my refund .

  3. gratissex says:

    I think your share is useful to me thnx for that.

  4. Donna says:

    I submitted 3 previous years tax return with no 1099 just an estimate of my income. Will I still get a refund or will it be returned to me?

    • Tax Advisor says:

      Hi Donna,

      If you estimated your income amounts because you were supposed to receive a 1099 at the end of the year but didn’t then your first step would be to contact your employer or the IRS for transcripts. Each time a 1099 (or W-2) is prepared by an employer, a copy is submitted to the IRS as well. In your situation, if the amounts that you reported on your tax return are way off, then the IRS will be able to pick up on that and possibly reject your return. You will be contacted via mail if this happens. You can resubmit your tax returns with the exact amounts once you have received this information from either your employer or the IRS.

Leave a Reply