Smart TaxesSmart Taxes

What to do if your W-2 is wrong

Check the form against your last pay stub of 2011 to make sure the company reported the correct amounts earned and withheld. If you find a mistake, contact your employer.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 2, 2012 3:24PM

This post is by Robert Flach of MainStreet. now you should have received most, if not all, of your W-2s from 2011; employers are required to provide the forms by Jan. 31. The first thing you should do when you receive a W-2 is to check the figures against your records to make sure the reported amounts are correct.


Using your final pay stub from last year, carefully compare the gross federal and state wages, federal, state and local income tax withheld, and Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld with the figures on the W-2s. Also be sure to verify that the Social Security number on the W-2 is correct. This is perhaps the most important number on the form.   


If you find an error or discrepancy, contact the employer, which will issue a corrected W-3c and W-2c to the Social Security Administration (employers send W-2s to the SSA and not the IRS, although the IRS eventually gets the information for matching) and send copies of the corrected W-2c to you. Attach Copy B of the W-2c to your tax return, along wiht the original erroneous W-2, when you send it in.  Post continues below.

While you should also notify your current employer if you find an error or typo in your name or address, such errors should not affect your tax filing and should not require a new W-2.


If you don't receive a W-2 and can't contact the employer because it has gone out of business or disappeared, all is not lost. You can use your pay stubs or other records from that job to reconstruct the various items of income and withholding and file Form 4852 (.pdf file), the Substitute for Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement, with your federal and state tax returns.


Of course, you should also verify that the Social Security and income numbers reported on 1099s you receive for interest, dividends or miscellaneous income are correct as well.


More from MainStreet and MSN Money:




Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.