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It's about the time when employees start wondering where their W-2s and other tax items are. Your employer has until February 2 to get your W-2 into the mail to you, so you should have your forms by the end of next week.

If you don't receive your W-2 by then, what do you do? There are some specific steps you should take, and you should do them in this order to minimize the headaches.

1. Call your payroll department. It's possible that yours was lost or sent to the wrong address. Often they can fax you a copy or otherwise get a copy into your hands easily.

2. If you're not able to get a copy from payroll or if the company no longer exists, you can file Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement, with your personal tax return. Essentially you will be creating your own W-2 using the information from your last pay stub of 2008. If you use this method, your refund will likely be delayed, but you'll still get it.

Also, don't be afraid to contact the IRS for help with getting your W-2 or completing Form 4852. You can call (800) 829-1040 for this.

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