How to File Taxes Using Your Last Paycheck Stub

By David Carnes
a last resort, you, your taxes, a W-2 form

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You are required to report your taxable income when you file your income taxes each year. If you are a salaried employee, you will receive a summary of your wages and taxes withheld when your employer mails Form W-2 to you. A copy of the W-2 is sent to the Social Security Administration, which notifies the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of your earnings. Occasionally, however, you might not receive a W-2, because either it was lost in the mail or your employer neglected to file the tax form for one reason or another. In this case, you can still file your taxes using the information on your year-end paycheck stub.

Call the IRS at 800-829-1040 if you have not received your W-2 by Feb. 14. You will need to give the IRS representative your name, address, phone number and Social Security number, as well as contact information for your employer. The IRS will intervene, asking your employer to send your W-2. If April 15 is near and you still haven't received your W-2, file your tax return using your year-end paycheck stub. Keep in mind that you must first contact the IRS for help with obtaining your W-2 before you can file your taxes using your paycheck stub.

Download Form 1040 and Form 4852 form the IRS website (see Resources). Form 4852 is an alternative to Form W-2.

Provide the requested information about yourself and your employer on Form 4852. If you don't know your employer's Employer Identification Number (EIN), leave it blank. If you have worked for the employer for more than a year, try to find a W-2 from that employer for a previous year. Your employer's EIN should be printed on that earlier W-2.

Enter the gross income amount shown on your year-end paycheck stub on Form 4852 and Form 1040. If you don’t have a paycheck stub showing your year-end earnings, estimate your total income from that employer.

Enter the amount of tax withheld from your wages on Form 4852 and Form 1040. This information should appear on your year-end pay stub. Employers generally deduct federal income tax, state and local income tax, Social Security and Medicare taxes. State and local taxes normally do not matter in calculating your federal income tax. If you don’t have a year-end pay stub showing the taxes withheld from your wages, you will have to calculate the withholding rates for each tax and multiply it by your estimated gross income to estimate the amounts withheld. Tax withholding rates change yearly.

Enter any other taxable income you received from other sources, such as pay from a second job, rental income, stock dividends, interest and royalties on your Form 1040.

Complete a written statement that you contacted the IRS for help with obtaining your missing W-2 and explain how you calculated your income. A space is provided for this statement on Form 4852. If you need more space to explain, attach a separate sheet.

Complete your Form 1040 tax form in the usual manner. Sign your 1040 tax return and Form 4852. Send the forms to the IRS Service Center for your state of residence, which should be listed in the Form 1040 instructions. It’s not necessary for you to send in your paycheck stub.

About the Author

David Carnes has been a full-time writer since 1998 and has published two full-length novels. He spends much of his time in various Asian countries and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. He earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky College of Law.