I Can’t Find My W-2!
By: Linda Lehman, Senior Assistant Accountant
As an employer, you have issued W-2s. Now you are getting requests for duplicate copies from employees who have not received them, or have misplaced them. Here’s what you need to know:
- The request for a duplicate W-2 needs to be in writing; an email is fine. The request must be from the employee (not a spouse or parent/child).
- The duplicate W-2 must have REISSUED STATEMENT at the top of the form.
- Ask the employee to sign for the duplicate W-2. If that is not practical you can mail the W-2 using a method which shows tracking & receipt of the duplicate W-2.
- Keep a copy of the request & documentation of the re-issued W-2 in the employee’s personnel file.
- There is no filing requirement to notify the Social Security Administration, nor any state or local agencies, that a duplicate W-2 was issued.
What if the W-2 was returned to the employer with an incorrect address? Here’s how to handle this situation:
- Employees often forget to notify their employer when they move. Only when they realize they have not received their W-2 it is discovered the employer has an incorrect address.
- If the employee contacts you about a missing W-2 and provides a new address (in writing) you should re-mail it as soon as you can. The original W-2 should be kept in the original envelope (showing proof that it was mailed timely) and placed into another envelope with the new address.
- Prior to re-mailing the W-2, employers should make a copy of the envelope and document when it was re-mailed to the employee.
- If you don’t receive a request from the employee about a missing W-2, the returned W-2 should be kept in the original envelope for four years. This documents the W-2 was sent to the employee as required.
- The employee’s personnel file would be the best place to keep this documentation.