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Approaching Deadlines for Forms W-2 and 1099s; What to Do About Missing Forms

(Parker Tax Publishing January 2021)

While year-end tax legislation has captured taxpayers' and practitioners' attention, year-end deadlines for filing certain tax forms are still with us. That means preparing and distributing Forms W-2 and Forms 1099 by February 1, and knowing what to do if clients haven't received the appropriate forms in time for filing their tax returns.

The due date for employers to submit Forms W-2 to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and to employees is February 1, 2021, and the date for payors to submit Forms 1099 to payees is also February 1, 2021. Penalties are stiff for employers and payors who don't provide these forms on time and often grow stiffer as time goes on because increasing penalties is an easy revenue generator for Congress.

Observation: Beginning with the 2020 tax year, payments of nonemployee compensation by a trade or business are required to be reported on a Form 1099-NEC instead of on Form 1099-MISC. As a result, Form 1099-MISC has been revised and the box numbers for reporting certain income have been rearranged. The due date for furnishing a Form 1099-NEC is also February 1, 2021.

If a taxpayer does not receive Form W-2 or a Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc., by early February or the information on the form that was received is incorrect, a taxpayer should take the actions outlined below.

1. Make Contact with the Employer or Payor

The employee/payee should either contact the employer or the payor of the Form 1099-R income and ask for his or her Form W-2 or Form 1099-R to be sent and double check that the employer/payor has the right address.

2. Call the IRS

If, by the end of February, the missing or corrected Form W-2 or Form 1099-R has not been received, then the taxpayer should call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS will contact the employer/payor and request the missing or corrected form. The IRS will also send the taxpayer a Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc. The IRS will need the following information:

(1) Taxpayer name, address (including ZIP code), social security number, and phone number;

(2) The employer/payor's name, address (including ZIP code), phone number, and employer identification number (if known);

(3) If applicable, the dates the taxpayer worked for the employer; and

(4) If applicable, an estimate of the amount of wages paid and federal income tax withheld in 2020 (using, if possible, the final pay stub to figure these amounts).

3. Use Form 4852 to Estimate Payments, Wages, and Withheld Taxes

Taxpayers who haven't received their Form W-2 or Form 1099-R in time to file can use the Form 4852 to estimate their wages or payments and withheld taxes as accurately as possible. The IRS may delay processing the return while it verifies the information.

Taxpayers who need more time can apply for a six-month automatic extension to file their federal tax return by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

Taxpayers may need to correct their tax return if they get their missing Form W-2 or Form 1099-R after Form 1040 is filed. If the tax information on the Form W-2 or Form 1099-R is different from what was originally reported, an amended tax return may need to be filed. In this case, the taxpayer must file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to make the change.

Taxpayers who have not received a Form 1099-MISC or Form 1099-NEC and are unsure of their income should contact the payor and ask the payor to issue or re-issue (in the case of a lost form) either the Form 1099-MISC or Form 1099-NEC. However, if a taxpayer has the records that prove how much income he or she received during the year, there is no requirement to attach the Form 1099-MISC or the Form 1099-NEC to the tax return and the taxpayer can just use his or her records to complete the tax return.

For a discussion of the due dates for filing Forms W-2, Form 1099-MISC, and Form 1099-NEC, see Parker Tax ¶252,503.

Disclaimer: This publication does not, and is not intended to, provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and readers should consult their tax advisors concerning the application of tax laws to their particular situations. This analysis is not tax advice and is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The information contained herein is general in nature and based on authorities that are subject to change. Parker Tax Publishing guarantees neither the accuracy nor completeness of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for results obtained by others as a result of reliance upon such information. Parker Tax Publishing assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in tax laws or other factors that could affect information contained herein.

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