Lost or missing documents can turn tax season into a giant puzzle, but they don’t have to hold you back for long. Here are some common tax needs that might go away – and what a tax professional says you can do if they give you the slip.
LOST: YOUR W-2
What to do: Go to HR or your payroll.
A W-2 shows how much your employer paid you in the tax year and how much tax they withheld on your behalf. Typically, employers must provide W-2s to employees by January 31. If yours is lost or never showed up, just ask your employer for a different one, says Mark Luscombe, CPA and Senior Analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. Also check your old emails: Many companies offer electronic access to company documents, including tax returns.
What else you can try: Call the IRS.
LOST: OLD TAX RETURNS
What to do: Get an IRS tax slip.
This allows you to see most of the items on your federal income tax returns for the current tax year and for returns processed in the previous three years. You can also get basic data such as how you paid and your adjusted gross income for the current tax year and for the past 10 years. Transcripts are free, but note that they are not the same as a photocopy of your tax return. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll likely need to complete IRS Form 4506 instead (and there’s a fee).
What Else You Can Try: Check with your tax software or tax preparer.
âIf you hired a tax professional, they probably have it on file,â Luscombe says. If you’ve used tax software, your software vendor may still have your old returns depending on the company and the version of the software you purchased.
LOST: A 1099
What to do: Log into your investment account.
The 1099 is a record that an entity or person (not your employer) gave or paid you money. There are many types of 1099s, although some of the more popular – the 1099-DIV, 1099-B, and 1099-R – pay dividends, capital gains, and other income from investments or retirement accounts. If you’ve lost one, you can probably get a new one from the Tax Documents section of your investment account’s website.
What else you can try: Look at your year-end statements.
As a general rule, there is no need to attach 1099s to tax returns unless taxes have been withheld from the payments. âAs long as you can recreate the information from the statements, some people suggest that you don’t even bother trying to get the 1099,â he says. “One is a lot of trouble, and two, you don’t have to send it to the IRS anyway.” Also, anyone who sends you a 1099 is supposed to send a copy to the IRS, which increases the risk that the IRS will mistake that second 1099 issue for a second payment and think you received twice as much as what you report. , Luscombe said.
LOST: YOUR 1098
What to do: Log into your bank account.
A 1098 shows the amount of interest you paid on a mortgage during the year – interest that could earn you a tax deduction. Your mortgage lender likely gives you access to this and other tax documents (such as your property tax payments) online.
What else you can try: Look at your year-end mortgage statement.
You don’t have to attach your 1098 to your tax return, Luscombe says, so if you can recreate the information from your monthly mortgage statement or similar, it may be unnecessary to look for another copy of your 1098. âI don’t. would do that if you are not sure what information you have, âhe notes.
LOST: ENOUGH TIME TO MAKE YOUR IMPTS BECAUSE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR LOST DOCUMENTS
What to do: get an extension.
If the wait for the missing documents goes beyond April 15, you can use IRS Form 4868 to get an extension. This will usually give you six more months to take stock. But beware: an extension gives you more time to complete your tax forms – it doesn’t give you more time to pay your taxes. You will still need to estimate the amount of tax you owe and include that amount (with your extension request) by April 15. Interest and penalties may apply if you pay less than you actually owe, so take your estimate seriously.
This article originally appeared on the NerdWallet personal finance website. Tina Orem is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: [email protected]
NerdWallet: 6 things to know about your W-2 form in 2019 http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-explains-tax-w2-form
NerdWallet: What is a Form 1099? How it works and what to do http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-explains-tax-1099-form
NerdWallet: Guide to Tax Deductions and 20 Popular Tax Breaks for 2019 http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-guide-popular-tax-breaks
NerdWallet: Tax Extensions 2019: How and When to Get One http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-explains-tax-extensions