What if I cannot obtain my W2, 1099, or 1098 forms from prior years?

I have run across situations where an individual had to file taxes for past years, but does not have access to their 1099, W2, or 1098-e, among other forms that will affect their filing. When putting this question into Google, the results ignore the harsh reality of the small business landscape. The instructions repeat the same useless refrain: contact your old employer and request the W2. Contact your old employer and request the 1099. Contact your old loan service company and request your various 1098 series forms.

However, any one person that has ever been in this situation has found the same thing to happen. Here are some replies:

  1. No reply at all from the employer
  2. The old employer says "get a hold of ADP, who processes our payroll." However, no replies are received from ADP.
  3. The company has simply gone out of business. This is the most common issue - since most business is small business (and many are sole props), these types of firms go out of business, therefore leaving an individual nowhere to turn to obtain their old W2s or 1099.
  4. For loan servicers, if the person is in default, the debt may have been transferred to a debt collector, leaving nobody to ask for 1098 series documents.
  5. Many HR departments simply do not have the capacity or the willingness to dig up W2s for employees, and many employers have their payroll outsourced. Also, changing payroll providers happens frequently, so if you lose your W2, there may be nowhere to obtain it from.

In the United States, small businesses make up 99.7% of jobs, and with the dynamic nature of small business, these situations outlined above tend to happen.

So, what is the solution?

Fill out form 4506-T, check the box to the bottom right, and mail to the IRS. You will get all of this information - maybe not the exact form, but the most pertinent information you need to get caught up with your Federal returns. The information will arrive in the mail within 10 days, free of charge. It is as simple as that.

George Dimov specializes in filing missed tax returns - feel free to reach out and I will guide you through the process. Or, follow the instructions above and file with your local CPA or using the forms by hand.