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Ed Johnson
Ed Johnson, Tax Preparer
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 10760
Experience:  GPHR Cert; U.S. Treasury Tax Advocacy Panel appointee
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How long do employers have to send out W-2's?

Customer Question

How long do employers have to send out W-2's and 1099's, and what happens if they don't get them out on time?

Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Ed Johnson replied 10 years ago.

Employers/payers must provide employees with Form W-2 (PDF), Wage and Tax Statement; Form 1099-R (PDF), Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirements or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRA's, Insurance Contracts; Form 1099-INT (PDF), Interest Income, or Form 1099-MISC (PDF), Miscellaneous Income, by January 31 of the current year. Employers/payers have the option of making the information available on a website. However, if you leave your employer before the end of the calendar year, and request your Form W-2 (PDF) or Form 1099-R (PDF) at that time, your employer must provide your form within 30 days of your request. If you do not receive Form W–2 or Form 1099–R, you still must file your return on time.

Therefore, after January 31 of the current year, if you have not received Form W–2 or Form 1099–R, or received an incorrect form or information, contact your employer/payer. You may not have received your form because of an incorrect or incomplete address. Be sure to verify the address used if already mailed. If the form was returned to your employer/payer because of an incorrect address, or never mailed, and the employer/payer intends to issue or re-mail, allow a reasonable amount of time for this action to occur before calling the IRS for help.

If you have not received your Form(s) W-2 by early February the IRS will help you obtain the missing forms. Call 1–800–829–1040. Be prepared to provide your name, address (including zip code), phone number, Social Security Number, and dates of employment and the name, address (including zip code), and phone number of the employer/payer.

The IRS will send the employer/payer a Form 4598, Form W-2, 1098 or 1099 Not Received, Incorrect, or Lost. You will receive a copy, along with Form 4852 (PDF), Substitute for Form W–2 or Form 1099–R, and a Form 1040X (PDF), Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. If you do not receive the Form W-2 or Form 1099–R in sufficient time to file timely, you may file using Form 4852.