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What do I do if I didn’t get my W-2 or the W-2 I got has errors?

Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid


Employers are supposed to issue W-2’s to their employees by January 31st after the end of the calendar year.

 What if I didn’t get my W-2?

It probably makes sense to wait for at least a week to see if the mail was just slow.

Some employers don’t mail W-2s anymore. You may have to log onto a website to print off your own form.    

Did you move after you filled out your W-4 with the employer? If you didn’t tell the employer about your move, make sure to get them your current information.

If you have waited a week or so and you still don’t have it, what next?

Start by calling and telling the employer you haven’t gotten your W-2. Ask the employer when the W-2 will be available. It may make sense to put your request in writing and date it. This way you have proof you tried to deal with the situation informally.

I called (wrote) the employer and I still don’t have my W-2.

If you still haven’t received your W-2 by the end of February, you can call 800-829-1040 and ask the IRS for help.  The IRS will ask you for information about your employer and you. Have this information available when you call:

  • Your name, address (including ZIP code), phone number, taxpayer identification number, and dates of employment,

  • Your employer/payer's name, address (including ZIP code), and phone number,

  • If known, your employer/payer's identification number.

The IRS will contact your employer and tell the employer to send out your W-2. If you are currently employed it may be a little awkward to involve the IRS. You will have to decide how much to press the issue.

It is getting closer to April 15th and I still don’t have a W-2.

If the employer still does not issue a W-2, you can file a return with a Substitute W-2 or Form 4852. You can fill out this form using your last pay stub of the year that shows your year-to-date income and withholdings. If you don’t have one that shows year-to-date withholdings and income, try to locate as many paystubs as possible. If you are not given a paystub, then you may have to figure out your withholdings by figuring out your hours and rate of pay per pay period.  You may have to look at bank records.

For more on this subject, go to

What if I get a W-2 but it has an error?

The process is pretty much the same. Ask your employer to fix it; if the employer won’t fix it you can contact the IRS and if you still don’t get a corrected form, file a form 4852.

If you have questions about your tax rights and responsibilities, Iowa Legal Aid’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic may be able to help, to contact the clinic call 1-800-532-1275.

This information is not a substitute for legal advice.

As a general rule, Iowa Legal Aid’s LITC does not prepare tax returns. 

  • Iowa Legal Aid provides help to low-income Iowans. 
  • To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid:call 800-532-1275. 
  • Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161 or 
  • apply online at
If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, look for an attorney on “Find A Lawyer” on the Iowa State Bar Association website   A private attorney there can talk with you for a fee of $25 for 30 minutes of legal advice.
*As you read this information, remember this article is not a substitute for legal advice.
Last Review and Update: Oct 05, 2020
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