What to do if you receive the wrong W-2 Form?

By | December 5, 2015

If you receive a notice about an employer who has a W-2 for your taxpayer that they didn’t work at – and this usually happens in the fall, say from June through November – our underreporter unit will go through and they will match up the W-2s against the tax returns, and they will find that one is missing. And let’s say that this W-2 comes in and it’s out of North Carolina, and this person made about $20,000 in North Carolina. Your client only made $30,000 all year, so, of course, our underreporter is going to kick out and say, “Hey, most of your income wasn’t reported. You’ve got this big chunk out here.” Well, your client is going to look at it and they are going to say, “I didn’t earn this income.” The best thing they can do is call back the number on the letter and say, “I didn’t earn this income.” We need to know that. We need to know the information has been compromised so we can mark their account that they are at risk for identity theft. It is very important. Some people just go ahead and ignore it. And what happens if they ignore it, it gets assessed. Then you start getting collection letters. And it is harder to get out of collection once it has been assessed than it is to stop it from getting assessed in the first place.


I received an incorrect W-2 form. My former employer won’t issue me a corrected W-2. What should I do?

If your attempts to have the incorrect Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement, corrected by your employer are unsuccessful and it is after February 14, you can request that an IRS representative initiate a Form W-2 complaint.

  • The IRS will send your employer a letter requesting that they furnish you a corrected Form W-2 within ten days. The letter advises your employer of their responsibilities to provide a correct Form W-2 and of the penalties for failure to do so.
  • The IRS will send you a letter with instructions and Form 4852 (.pdf), Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or Form 1099-R, Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc. You can use the Form 4852 in the event that your employer does not provide you with the corrected Form W-2 in time to file your tax return.

When you call the IRS or visit a TAC office, please have the following information available:

  • Your employer’s name and complete address including ZIP code, employer identification number if known (see prior year’s Form W-2 if you worked for the same employer) and telephone number,
  • Your name, address including ZIP code, Social Security number, and telephone number, and
  • An estimate of the wages you earned, federal income tax withheld, and the period you worked for that employer. You should base the estimate on year-to-date information from your final pay stub or leave-and-earnings statement, if possible.

Form 4852 and Form W-2

If you file your return and attach Form 4852 to support the withholding amount claimed instead of a Form W-2, there may be delays processing your refund while we verify the information you gave us.

If you receive a corrected Form W-2 after you filed your return and it does not agree with the income or withheld tax you reported on your return, file an amended return on Form 1040X (.pdf), Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.