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Tax Tips: What to do if you don't get a W-2

Employers are required to have your W-2 in the mail to you by January 31, so if you don't have yours yet, give it a few more days before you panic. Most employers send them out earlier in the month, but yours may not have been sent yet.

What happens, though if you don't receive a W-2 from a company? Of course, the first thing to do is contact the company's payroll department or human resources department and ask for it. This is usually simple enough to do. But what if the company is out of business or you're just not able to contact anyone?

Hopefully, you've kept your last pay stub from 2007 from that employer. If you have that, you can file Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement, with your personal tax returns. You will probably need help from a tax professional to do this, but it will allow you to file your taxes and get your refund, if you're due one.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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