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When Should Your W-2 Arrive? What if it Doesn’t?

It’s that time of year, and one-by-one our W-2s are trickling in. So far I’ve received 3 of the 5 I’m expecting (yay contracting & part-time jobs!) and Micah still needs to get his one. Seeing the W-2 from my PRN job reinforced how little I was earning there. Dang.

When should my W-2 arrive?

Employers are required to give you your W-2 by January 31st. The SSA does not specify whether or not this means they must mail it by that date or it must arrive by that date.

What if my W-2 doesn’t arrive?

If it’s early February and your W-2 hasn’t arrived, contact your company’s payroll department. Find out the date (or approximate date) your W-2 was mailed, if you believe there’s been more than enough time for it to arrive, ask for another copy. You may even be able to pick up this copy in person.

Remember that the person you’re speaking to in Payroll is probably not responsible for your missing W-2 and treat them accordingly. They’re also not personally responsible for any paperwork you have to fill out. Being pleasant goes a long way to getting problems solved quickly.

What if I lost my W-2?

Last year my W-2 arrived but I lost it. Again, contact Payroll. Let them know that you lost it. Explain that you’d appreciate their assistance in getting another copy and ask what you have to do. In my case, I had to fax or mail in a form (since I was no longer in the area, otherwise I could have walked it in). My new W-2 arrived only a couple weeks after I faxed in the form.

Happy beginning of the tax season!


Personal Finance Ology January 21, 2009 at 12:54 pm

I still haven’t received any of mine. I guess I should be expecting them soon. I’m kind of dreading my taxes this year, they sure did get a lot more complicated.

Craig January 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Should past employers of last year automatically know about sending the W-2 form or should I alert them anyways? I don’t want to have bad etiquette with it.

mrsmicah January 21, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Craig, they should automatically know to send you a W-2, they’re legally required. Unless you don’t trust their accounting department to be on the ball…

zach January 25, 2009 at 9:51 pm

i still haven’t gotten any of mine either, and i’m expecting 2 W-2’s and a bunch of 1099’s… i guess people really do wait until the last minute. hopefully they’ll all come this week, otherwise i have to start making phone calls. fun times 🙂

Jenna February 16, 2009 at 12:19 pm

I STILL have not recieved mine after calling and talking to the responsible party many times. What to do?

Ollie Hicks April 17, 2009 at 10:18 am

I’m a UK bod, but after not receiving certain necessary paperwork from an agency I’d worked for, despite many many many promises, I found that TURNING UP ON THE DOORSTEP worked like a magic charm… Hey presto, paperwork found within 5 minutes!

Katie February 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm

I worked for Dollar General in two locations in 2015-2016. I’ve received my North Carolina w2’s but I still haven’t received the ones from Florida. They’re both from Dollar General, why have I received one but not the other? Should I give it a few more days or should I be contacting corporate? Please help!

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