Even though the IRS allows you to file your taxes online, you’re still required to retain specific income-related documents. The main document is your W-2 form, which is mailed to you by your employer. The W-2 form contains information regarding your yearly earnings and the figure that was withheld for tax purposes. You’ll need these figures to fill out your tax return online.
Receiving Your W-2 Form
Federal law mandates that your employer mail you your W-2 form by January 31st of the year after your employment. However, they are given a grace period of 15 days. if you haven’t received your W-2 by February 15th, you can file an official complaint with the Internal Revenue Service.
In reality, you really don’t need to wait for your W-2 form to arrive if it is missing. You can check with the home office of your employer to see if they have mailed it to you. If they haven’t, and you live close to their location, you can make a personal inquiry at their office. In these cases, they may be able to provide you with a your W-2 form.
Using Your Last Pay Stub
Not everybody lives close to the location of their employer’s home office. If you have logistical hurdles that prevent you from obtaining your W-2 form this way, you might be able to use your last pay stub from December. This stub will contain the withholding figures and cumulative income that you’ve earned up to that date for the fiscal year. This will allow you to use that information when preparing your taxes online.
However, you’ll also need to obtain the Employer Identification Number that identifies your employer. In most cases, this number is not usually printed on pay stubs that your company sends to you. You will probably need to contact your employer for this number or conduct a search for it online. If you aren’t able to provide the EIN to the IRS, it may slow down the processing and increase the chance that your tax form is audited.
Filing Your Tax Return Online
Once you have all of the information that you need, you are armed with the ability to fill out your taxes online and file them. You’ll want to make sure that you use exact figures when entering items such as FICA or Medicare withholding tax. In addition, if you do use a pay stub to identify your earnings and the amount withheld, you are required to include IRS Form 4852.
Jim Treebold is a North Carolina based writer. He lives by the mantra of “Learn 1 new thing each day”! Jim loves to write, read, pedal around on his electric bike and dream of big things. Drop him a line if you like his writing, he loves hearing from his readers!