Ask the tax adviser
How to get a W-2 from a company that is out of
Dear Tax Talk:
How do I obtain a copy of a W-2 form from a company that has gone
out business? My W-2 still has not arrived.
You should get your Form W-2 by Jan. 31. Of course, if the company
you worked for is out of business, your chances of getting that
form are probably drastically reduced.
Companies that go out of business are still responsible
to provide employees' W-2s. However, they rarely do. This is because
the employer may not possess the knowledge to prepare the tax statement
itself or doesn't have the money to pay someone to do it.
If you don't get your Form W-2 by Feb. 15, you can
call the Internal Revenue Service to get some assistance. I learned
this by calling the IRS and listening to its TeleTax Topic 154.
TeleTax is a series of recorded tax topics available by calling
(800) 829-4477. A list of available topics is provided in the Form
Of course, if you ever tried calling the IRS to get
help (other than recorded tax advice) you know it is next to impossible
to get through on their lines. I recommend you call early in the
morning when you'd rather be sleeping or after 6 p.m. The number
is (800) 829-1040.
Prior to calling, you should gather as much information
as you can in order to reconstruct your wages and tax withheld.
Of course, if your employer gave you pay stubs that showed your
gross income and payroll taxes, then you can pretty much rely on
this information to come up with your Form W-2.
If your employer was less than thorough when it came
to giving you such advice, you're going to have to get more assistance
from the IRS. For example, such information can come from your 2000
Form W-2 if it was similar to 2001. Your prior W-2 should also contain
an employer identification number that can help the IRS track down
the parties that may be responsible for submitting 2001 Forms W-2.
If you have to reconstruct your wages, the IRS may
provide you with Form 4852 as a substitute W-2. Form 4852 should
also be provided to the Social Security Administration, so you can
get credit for FICA tax paid.
-- Posted: Jan. 29, 2002